By Hochul Press Office | March 7, 2024

Governor Hochul: “I’m going to talk about feelings and emotions and the psychology of a city. I want more people on the subways. We’re not quite back to the pre-pandemic levels. And if people are feeling unsafe and won’t come, then I have to do something about it.”

Hochul: “My number one priority is the safety of all New Yorkers. If people are anxious in any aspect of their lives, particularly the lifeblood of our region – Downstate does not function without a healthy subway system that people have confidence in – I have to do this for them.”


Earlier today, Governor Kathy Hochul was a guest on FOX 5’s Good Day New York to discuss her five-point plan to utilize state resources to protect New Yorkers on the subways. This includes surging State personnel to assist NYPD bag checks, a new program bill that would permit transit bans for individuals that assault other passengers, adding new cameras to protect conductor cabins, increasing coordination between District Attorneys and law enforcement, and increasing the number of Subway Co-Response Outreach (SCOUT) teams throughout the system – which will operate in addition to the existing Safe Options Support (SOS) teams.

AUDIO of the event is available here.

A rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks is available below:

Rosanna Scotto, FOX 5: Joining us with more, and we’re going to discuss this all, dissect it, Governor Kathy Hochul. Nice to have you back on Good Day New York.

Governor Hochul: Thank you. Great to see both of you.

Rosanna Scotto, FOX 5: By the way, very dramatic, National Guard coming to a New York City subway. What brought you to that point?

Governor Hochul: We have had a series of high-profile crimes that have shaken the security of New Yorkers. Statistically, it’s not what it used to be. It’s better, much better. But I’m not going to talk about statistics. I’m going to talk about feelings and emotions and the psychology of a city. I want more people on the subways. We’re not quite back to the pre-pandemic levels. And if people are feeling unsafe and won’t come, then I have to do something about it. And work with our Mayor. The Mayor already deployed 1,000 more NYPD. That was a great move. He has the primary responsibility for policing our subways. But I also have assets that I can bring to just calm down the fever right now. Because when you have a subway conductor with his throat slashed, and I spoke to the doctor who saved him yesterday, it’s extraordinary, and another conductor hit with a glass bottle—

Rosanna Scotto, FOX 5: That was like what, just an hour after you made this announcement yesterday?

Governor Hochul: Exactly. So guess what? We’re going to take some strong action. There’s no search and frisk. There’s no stop and frisk. There’s no profiling. All this is a deterrent. Saying, you want to commit a crime? Go somewhere else. Not on our subway.

Rosanna Scotto, FOX 5: So you’re going to have a National Guard there. And they’re going to search bags?

Governor Hochul: Randomly. Randomly.

Rosanna Scotto, FOX 5: What happens if you don’t want your bag searched?

Governor Hochul: Then go home. You can – we’re not going to search you. You can say no, but you’re not taking the subway.

Rosanna Scotto, FOX 5: How are you going to enforce that? It’s hard to get people to pay the fare right now. You still have so many people evading fares.

Governor Hochul: Well, guess where these individuals are positioned? Right near the turnstiles. So you want to look in the eye of a police officer or an MTA Transit Police or a National Guard and still jump the skip the fair. Go ahead.

Curt Menefee, FOX 5: There’s so many entrances to every subway station. How do you patrol this? Do you have someone stationed at every entrance? Do you have select entrances?

Governor Hochul: We are looking at the main transit hubs for the most people come to. We’re going for volume to supplement the NYPD’s efforts throughout the whole system. And the other element is, we’re going to have cameras on every single subway. Now, this is something that was talked about, I’m getting it done. I’d rather be in the business of preventing crimes than having to solve them. And if people know that they’re being watched, that there’s a camera that’ll record if they harm someone, assault, bring out a gun, have a knife, they’re going to get caught? I think that’s going to have a powerful effect on the psychology of the criminals. And there’s also a category of individuals who are not well, who have severe mental health problems.

Curt Menefee, FOX 5: That’s one that I think is important to talk about because so many of these arrests that you see or people that get taken out, they’re suffering from mental illness.

Governor Hochul: They sure are.

Curt Menefee, FOX 5: And there’s a mental health crisis here in the city, all across the country. What can you do in this plan to change that and maybe deter some of those people? Or at least handle it?

Governor Hochul: Two elements. One is we already have our safety plan of having individuals who are trained professionals, these are social workers, people who are – have a medical background. They are going in, and have been now for over a year and a half, to talk to people, develop a relationship with them and get them to leave the subways. Because if that’s their primary home, we are now placing them into places they can have supportive services, a long term home for them.

Then there’s a category of people that can do harm to themselves or others, very serious cases. I just allocated $20 million more to add enhanced enforcements, which have a police officer embedded in them because it could be a danger for some of our social workers or professionals to engage with certain people. It’s a small category of people. But if you happen to be on a train with someone there and you’re worried that someone’s going to hurt you or your baby in a stroller or a senior citizen, that creates an anxiety. And I don’t want New Yorkers to be anxious about any aspect of life here, but certainly not traveling on the subway.

Curt Menefee, FOX 5: Just to follow up on that, I see you’re expanding the number of teams. There are two in the entire subway system right now to ten. So five times as much. But again, the question, how do you enforce that? Because so many times, they’re adults. And you can – I hate to use the term – but you can gather them up and say, we’re going to put you in services, but they’re adults, and after a while they go, I don’t need help. And they are right back out in the street. So how do you enforce that and keep it from happening?

Governor Hochul: Two categories of people. That’s why we have the one program, which is primarily social service oriented, develop relations, convince people to leave. And some people that we’ve convinced leave, we have 350 people now living in permanent housing who had been on the subways for five to seven years. That was their home. We convinced them to leave. That’s a long process. The other part, what I’m funding as of yesterday, is a more intense operation. And involves police because these are people who could truly be the ones who push someone on the track that could cause harm to themselves or others. And there’s a different approach and it’s not their choice whether they leave the police make the determination. That’s a small group of people. We want to respect people’s rights. We also have a right to be safe on our subways.

Rosanna Scotto, FOX 5: So, you know, we’ve done a poll this morning on Good Day. Overwhelmingly, people are in favor of the National Guard being on the subway. But some of the papers today, I don’t know if you’ve read them, they’re calling this theatrics, that it really means nothing, you’re overdoing it, you’re undermining the NYPD. What do you say to those people?

Governor Hochul: I would say if I did nothing, it would be negligent on my part. I’m the Governor of the State of New York. My number one priority is the safety of all New Yorkers. If people are anxious in any aspect of their lives, particularly the lifeblood of our region – Downstate does not function without a healthy subway system that people have confidence in. I have to do this for them. It does not undermine the Mayor, in fact, it is complementing the Mayor’s efforts.

Rosanna Scotto, FOX 5: And the NYPD is okay with this? We had a meeting with them last Thursday. I said, “You need help?” They particularly asked for help on the psychiatric side, the mental health side. I said, “I’ll help you.” I’ve been working hard to get more beds and hospitals available. That’s what happened.

Rosanna Scotto, FOX 5: Because there’s no place for them to go.

Governor Hochul: There was no place to go.

Rosanna Scotto, FOX 5: And they were out in two or three days.

Governor Hochul: That’s right. And that’s why I announced it last year $1 billion to deal with mental health, forcing hospitals that had taken mental health beds offline because they had them for COVID, I understand that, COVID is over. We’re good. Bring them back on now. But they’re more expensive to run. I had to deal with the disparity in rates. I had to do a lot of work to get those beds back on. And we now have a policy, all the hospitals have to follow this, if someone is someone who’s under your care, they have to have a discharge plan that puts them in the next level of service. You cannot – that does not work. So, I’m working with the Mayor, supplementing his great efforts to do what he can. He has primary responsibility for policing the subways. But sometimes you need a little extra help, and that’s why I’m there as a partner to the Mayor.

Rosanna Scotto, FOX 5: And as we had the Mayor on yesterday, and he was here talking about recidivism.

Governor Hochul: Oh yeah.

Rosanna Scotto, FOX 5: He said it’s the same people day in, day out.

Curt Menefee, FOX 5: 1 percent of the people arrested are responsible for 20 percent of the crimes.

Rosanna Scotto, FOX 5: So what I’m asking you is basically, it goes back to bail reform. And a lot of people are criticizing that this, putting the National Guard on, the mental health people, that it’s still not dealing with the problem that we have a problem with bail reform, and that these people are being released back into the community before they even like hit the jail cell.

Governor Hochul: We’ve talked about this many times, and you talked to me last year after the budget, when I held the budget up one month. Not because of money or other disagreements – because I insisted that we’re not leaving town until we change the bail laws and give the judges the discretion that had been taken away from them, to allow them, and add more categories of cases of crimes that are bail eligible.

Rosanna Scotto, FOX 5: I know you heard what happened on Long Island. These three people are accused of dismembering I don’t know how many people. They were brought in and basically let out without bail now—

Governor Hochul: You know what I’m going to say to that?

Rosanna Scotto, FOX 5: The DA over there is saying that it’s because of the bail reform laws.

Governor Hochul: And maybe the DA should have done a more thorough investigation and brought murder charges or conspiracy to commit murder, or even assault charges because all of them are bail eligible. Okay, maybe they brought it a little early. I encourage the DA’s office to go back and build your case, because if you bring any of those charges, which I think would be appropriate that’s absolutely bail eligible. Those people would not be out on the street.

Rosanna Scotto, FOX 5: But what about the recidivism happening right now, which the Mayor is talking about?

Governor Hochul: Here’s what happened. The law I changed went into effect last May. It hasn’t even had a year. Judges aren’t always applying it properly. Because Upstate New York, we’re seeing a big decline in recidivism. Judges are following the new law. I have to say there are judges in New York City who either are not aware of the law, which I’ve actually heard some misrepresent the law, they still think they’re supposed to follow least restrictive means. That is no longer the standard, we took that out. So it’s an education process, it’s the district attorneys, there’s a whole system here.

But the law is on their side now to hold people who are repeat offenders. It’s called harm on harm. This is how we’re getting at – if you harm an individual, harm someone’s property, you can be held. So that’s the new law. Let’s give it some time to take effect, but I went to the mat on that, got those changes, and ultimately New Yorkers will be safer.

Curt Menefee, FOX 5: While I have you here, we want to talk about the migrant crisis, because the city, I think, is disproportionately affected by it. You look at the rest of the state, and so many counties, more than half the counties have passed laws where migrants can’t be sheltered in hotels, and they can’t sign contracts, etc. So the city winds up with a lot of the asylum seekers here, unable to move them elsewhere Upstate and financially have to deal with it. What can be done to make other places in the state kind of carry their burden?

Governor Hochul: We’ve had 178,000 migrants come to our city, about 36 percent of those are being sheltered. Many have come in, registered, got services for a few days and have left the system. What we have now, and this is – I’ll bring in Upstate in a second because this is an important part of it – for the first time in our history, the wave of migration has not been men who come first, get planted, get a job, get a place for the family and then bring them up. We have more women and children than we’ve ever seen in the history of migration, So, there’s a lot of women and children who need services. They also need the language spoken.

New York City is a very diverse place. Upstate is not. Also, there’s a culture here in New York City where there’s more people who can get the jobs, I’ll just call them off the books, right? Upstate, the employers are much more resistant to doing that. So Many of these migrants—

Curt Menefee, FOX 5: Many of this is written into local ordinances though. So, this is not just culturally they aren’t accepted up there, this is written that they can’t be brought up there.

Governor Hochul: But we have counties that are welcoming to them and those counties have been doing a great job. We also have migrants who say they don’t want to go up there. They’ve been sent there. They’ve been told to go there. They’ve been offered to go there. They’ve been offered housing up there and many of them are declining. I just want to say we cannot physically make you go live in Plattsburgh. I cannot do that.

Curt Menefee, FOX 5: So one of the question then is that Mayor Adams says he would like for the state then to help with 50 percent of the cost for the next two years, which the county, city estimates about $10 billion. I know you said you’ll give $2.4 billion in your Budget that is supposed to go forward on April 1. But if you can’t, if we can’t get some of these people in different areas, then can the state help the city more financially?

Governor Hochul: We already are in for this for $4.3 billion. Now, the Mayor has just reduced his estimates of what the costs will be. It’s an evolving situation. When we had 10,000 people, we thought that was a lot. We’re approaching 200,000. But my focus has been 100 percent to get these people jobs because they are here. They have a legal status. They have to wait a certain amount of time to get jobs. I have 460,000 open jobs in the state of New York. We need workers. Now, I’d rather there be a different path of people coming here.

This is a lot for us to handle, and the Mayor’s done a great job with these circumstances, and I’ve been a great partner with him. I have to tell you, we have thousands of people at state only supported sites. The Mayor’s not paying for many of the sites: Randall’s Island, JFK, Lincoln Correctional, Floyd Bennett Field. We have absorbed 100 percent of those costs to be a willing partner. Putting up the shelters, I have 2,000 National Guard staffing the shelters. That is on my dime. Health care costs, training, job training costs, we’re absorbing all this, and I’m not sure that’s being factored into their equation on where the state has been.

We’re going to continue working through this together. It’s been a real challenge, but ultimately, we get the people that are here, and I’d rather more not come. I’d rather that the Republicans in the House of Representatives sign on to the bill that the Republicans in the Senate supported, and Joe Biden said he’d sign, to shut down the border. That’s what we need to have happen. I need the Republicans in the state of New York, there’s 10 Republicans, to march into the Speaker’s office and say, we want to bring this bill to the floor, we want to give their money for our northern border as well, I could use help up there, I want 2,000 more patrol officers on the border. Let’s shut down the border so we can manage this crisis, get them jobs and move on.

Rosanna Scotto, FOX 5: I know you have a place to go after this, you got a lot on your plate. Congestion pricing, obviously lots of lawsuits against the MTA with congestion pricing. And while the MTA loves to hold up London as a model, there are problems in London, and they’ve readjusted their pricing in London. So far we do not see the MTA doing that. Do you feel like this is not going to happen this summer just because of all the lawsuits?

Governor Hochul: I feel that it will, and what really concerns me when I think about public safety, the fact that it takes so long for a fire truck or an ambulance, emergency person, to get to people because they’re stuck in our traffic. Now this is a matter of life and death. That’s what I want to get at. I also want to make sure that our subways are invested in. If we don’t have the money to be able to invest in making sure that they’re accessible for people with disabilities, for example, paying for all the cameras I’m putting. This is not free.

Rosanna Scotto, FOX 5: But do you think that this is really going to happen?

Governor Hochul: I think it will.

Rosanna Scotto, FOX 5: Only because there’s a lot of lawsuits and I hear they have weight.

Governor Hochul: A lot of lawsuits. I get sued every day of the week. The MTA gets sued, I say, get in line. That’s just, people will sue. But, people earning less than 60,000 do not have to pay. There are much reduced rates for nighttime travel. If we can get the delivery trucks to make their deliveries when it’s only a few dollars, congestion pricing, during the nighttime, we’re going to change how this city operates and make it easier. And ultimately I think it will be safer as well and that’s what I’m focused on.

Rosanna Scotto, FOX 5: So, you going to the State of the Union tonight?

Governor Hochul: Yes, I am.

Rosanna Scotto, FOX 5: Alright, bring a big sign, “Show me the money.”

Curt Menefee, FOX 5: Yes.

Rosanna Scotto, FOX 5: Because the government owes us some money, right?

Governor Hochul: We always need money. No doubt about it. But thank you.

Curt Menefee, FOX 5: We’re getting yelled at that you have to go and we didn’t even get to talk about your Buffalo Bills.

Governor Hochul: Wait, wait, wait, if we’re going to talk about the Buffalo Bills I can stay a couple extra minutes

Curt Menefee, FOX 5: Our next guest is Newark Mayor Ras Baraka. He wants to run for Governor of New Jersey. Any advice for anybody who’s thinking of running for governor?

Governor Hochul: It’s an honor. It’s a privilege I never could have imagined. Just stay in touch with the people. I walk the streets every day, I go to diners. Don’t lose your connection with the people.

Curt Menefee, FOX 5: We thank you for doing this with us. We appreciate you coming in this morning. Thank you.

Governor Hochul: Thank you.