Fear of Crime Traces a New York Subway Line, Above Ground and Below

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“People are scared,” she said. “My friends and neighbors don’t come out at night here anymore.”

“You definitely see more mental illness on the train,” said Ms. Tarmu, farther down the A line in Crown Heights. But, she added, “you see more anger on the train from perfectly sane people.”

Jade Williams, straight off a flight to Kennedy International and standing on a platform at the Howard Beach-JFK Airport stop, said she was excited to visit the city from her home in Britain. She had gone to school in New York, she said, and traveled regularly in Europe; she knows the city.

“I don’t feel unsafe, necessarily,” she said. “Maybe it’s because I lived here before.”

A few stops farther south, Stuart Walton has always called Far Rockaway home. He followed the news about crime in other parts of the city, he said, and was always vigilant while taking the train. But on his block, neighbors looked out for each other.

“Grandmothers, they raised us from little kids,” he said. In his neighborhood, that feeling of community has not changed, he said.

But Edward Weathers, who lives a few blocks away from Mr. Walton, thinks about his 8-year-old son and the city he’ll inherit.

“We can’t shelter him in, as much as I want to,” Mr. Weathers said. He worries for him, he said, and he worries that New Yorkers put too much faith in politicians to clean up the city. The answer, he believes, is for communities to start looking out for themselves.

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