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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Violence underground is on a terrifying roll.
The latest incident happened at the Atlantic Avenue/Barclays Center subway station in Brooklyn on Sunday morning. Police said a 29-year-old man was shoved from behind and fell on the tracks, but, fortunately, was able to lift himself up.
These attacks have prompted new patrols by members of the Guardian Angels.
This past week saw a string of crimes in the subway system.
There was the shocking caught-on-camera push at the 14th Street/Union Square station that grabbed the most attention.
Just steps from where it happened, the Guardian Angels announced Sunday they are back in a big way, CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported.
“I’ve never seen as many emotionally disturbed persons having episodes as we see now,” said Curtis Sliwa, the president of the Guardian Angels.
Sliwa founded the group in 1979 and said the Big Apple was “Fear City” back then and is again now.
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During Thursday’s incident, the female victim was lucky to survive after a homeless man allegedly ran up and shoved her on to tracks just as the train rolled in.
Hours earlier, there was another push onto tracks that injured a man.
There were two attacks Tuesday. A man sucker-punched Broadway actor Alex Weisman inside the 103rd Street station, seriously injuring his eye.
And another suspect is being hunted by the NYPD, which said he punched the face of a 65-year-old Metropolitan Transportation Authority worker inside the 23rd Street station.
Slashings followed on Saturday. A 53-year-old man was slashed on the face on a 4 train approaching Grand Central Terminal. Hours earlier, a knife-wielding man attacked a 26-year-old man inside Brooklyn’s High Street station, police said.
“People are afraid to use the subways,” Sliwa said.
Some riders said they are skeptical the Guardian Angels can stop subway crime, but they invite them to try.
“Maybe their presence will make people feel safer and that’s a great thing,” said Calvin Schneider of Midtown.
Other riders said extra patrols are only part of the solution.
“A lot more efforts have to go into thinking about people’s mental health,” Upper West Side resident Madeline Park said.
Getting more help for emotionally disturbed New Yorkers is something Sliwa said his group can make happen by doing outreach, photographing repeat offenders, and then shaming the city into action.
“We’re going to make the city agencies do what it is they get paid to do,” Sliwa said. “And if they are not going to do it, then the Guardian Angels will do it.”
When Carlin pressed City Hall for comment he was told officers and other city workers are connecting people with mental health needs to treatment every day, and initial outreach has been extended to more than 4,000 people in the past six months.