Further proof that the fears of potential Superbowl attendees about our apparently crime-ridden city are founded (as if any were needed after the 5 Hour Energy heist): there’s reportedly been a small uptick in subway graffiti in the early days of 2014, one of the surest “broken windows”-esque harbingers of a pendulum swing back towards our violent, crime-ridden bad old days. Or something like that.
Over the weekend, the Daily News reported a “rampage” in vandalism, with nine reported incidents taking place in the first 11 days of the year. “They’re like cockroaches. If you don’t keep on top of them, they come right back,” said an MTA source, and spokesman Kevin Ortiz confirmed that around $1 million per year goes toward graffiti removal. One person even tagged a train with “MTA you are slacken.”
The real problem, though, was the blizzard that came in after the new year, which forced the MTA to use its inclement weather contingency plan, parking trains in “layup” areas within the subway system as opposed to outdoor rail yards. This protects cars, but makes them more vulnerable to vandalism, as well.
All that said, a few people have been arrested, the weather has improved, and things seem to be more or less back at their usual status quo with this. But, sure, if anyone’s looking to manufacture some sort of crime “rampage” in the early days of De Blasio’s tenure as mayor, there is a little bit of evidence that would support it. Enjoy the subway while it’s still the model of order and cleanliness we’ve come to know and love.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.