Moynihan Station

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Bruce-C

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I see where Coach USA from the Port Authority will get you to Middletown, NY in about 2 1/2 hours. As 2 seniors with luggage, this is your best bet.
Hail any cab outside which ever train station you arrive at. Don't worry about crossing any streets.
 
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Some disturbing news about the increase in crime in the vicinity of Penn Station:

From the article: The largest spikes are in the number of robberies - which increased 189 percent

A very sad situation all around.
I checked the NY Times, and there is no report as such. I live in the NY Metro area and there have been homeless people as far back as the 80s; there have been drug users for ages. It doesn't make Penn Station any more unsafe than any place else in NYC.
 

Exvalley

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I checked the NY Times, and there is no report as such.
I am not sure how that is relevant.

I live in the NY Metro area and there have been homeless people as far back as the 80s; there have been drug users for ages. It doesn't make Penn Station any more unsafe than any place else in NYC.
Nobody has suggested that the area around Penn Station is the most dangerous area in the city. That is a straw man argument. The pertinent issue is that, for Amtrak travelers, the area around Penn Station has become more dangerous compared to last year. According to crime data published by the New York City Police Department, overall crime in Midtown South is up 41 percent this year compared to 2020. Robberies are up 189 percent. Felony assaults are up 151 percent.

City-wide, crime in August 2021 dropped 5.4 per cent compared to the same time last year. So the area around Penn Station has become more dangerous, whereas the city as a whole has become less dangerous. That is a concerning trend for those of us who frequent Penn Station.
 
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MARC Rider

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I am not sure how that is relevant.


Nobody has suggested that the area around Penn Station is the most dangerous area in the city. That is a straw man argument. The pertinent issue is that, for Amtrak travelers, the area around Penn Station has become more dangerous compared to last year. According to crime data published by the New York City Police Department, overall crime in Midtown South is up 41 percent this year compared to 2020. Robberies are up 189 percent. Felony assaults are up 151 percent.

City-wide, crime in August 2021 dropped 5.4 per cent compared to the same time last year. So the area around Penn Station has become more dangerous, whereas the city as a whole has become less dangerous. That is a concerning trend for those of us who frequent Penn Station.
Do the crime statistics give any finer breakdown about the occurrences of these crimes, like do they happen more at particular times? Do they have the exact locations of the crimes plotted on a map? (We have that feature in the Baltimore City crime report web page. It clearly shows that despite the relatively high crime rate, the vast majority of crimes are reported in limited areas.)

I was out and about in the vicinity of Moynihan Train Hall in April and late June, and it didn't seem like the area was any more threatening than usual. I mean, it's New York City, and people from more rural areas might be a little intimidated by the general overall vibe, but the only real danger that I saw was from the traffic. It should be noted that I was out and about in the morning, mid-day, and afternoon during those trips. Maybe things are different later in the evening.
 

Exvalley

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I was out and about in the vicinity of Moynihan Train Hall in April and late June, and it didn't seem like the area was any more threatening than usual. I mean, it's New York City, and people from more rural areas might be a little intimidated by the general overall vibe, but the only real danger that I saw was from the traffic. It should be noted that I was out and about in the morning, mid-day, and afternoon during those trips. Maybe things are different later in the evening.
I was there in July, and I definitely noticed an increase in the homeless population. I also saw a decent amount of drug paraphernalia on the street. But I can't say that I felt unsafe.
 

Bob Dylan

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When I was there in May, there were lots of NYPD on the streets and in Penn Station and Moynihan, and I didn't see any Homeless People in Moynihan, only inside Penn Station, and to me it appeared to be not nearly as bad as it used to be when they literally lived inside Penn Station. .
 

MARC Rider

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I was there in July, and I definitely noticed an increase in the homeless population. I also saw a decent amount of drug paraphernalia on the street. But I can't say that I felt unsafe.
One thing about drug paraphernalia -- recreational weed is now legal in New York. Thus, unless you're seeing actual hypodermic syringes, this "drug paraphernalia" is litter similar to discarded beer bottles and cigarette butts, not evidence of criminal activity. (Other than littering, of course.)
 

Exvalley

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Thus, unless you're seeing actual hypodermic syringes,
This is what I was referring to.

My one complaint with the recreational marijuana in New York is that it was obvious that many people could not smoke in their apartments, so the streets reeked of marijuana in front of some buildings.
 

enviro5609

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Regarding the DailyMail article:

NY’er here. Without disclosing too much personal information, my work is very adjacent to public safety. There is currently a lot of discussion and debate in the City over “crime numbers.” A lot of it seems intentionally inflammatory for local political reasons. Without getting into any of that, it’s helpful to put things into perspective.

Crime is still near all time lows, and a tiny fraction of what it was in the 70s through 90s. What you are seeing is a function of small numbers and statistics.

The area around Penn is remarkably safe for the City, and NYC itself is one of the safest cities in the country.

Yes, crime is up big percentages year over year in some local areas. But stats like that can be misleading, especially at low numbers. NYC was at record lows for almost every crime category in 2018-2019. Major 7 felonies in the area around Penn were down to minuscule numbers. So a number like “robberies increase of 189%!” sounds pretty scary, but is really just inflammatory when it’s a jump from a record low of 97 to 280 in that particular precinct.

How is it inflammatory? Hundreds of thousands if not millions of people pass through that small and dense area every day. An increase from 97 to 280 is almost a statistical aberration in terms of per 100,000 daily population. The numbers now are the same that they were under Bloomberg. Was anyone worried about crime then? No, these same numbers were record lows then, and celebrated.

All of that is to say there is a lot of recency bias and room for interpretation and manipulation when it comes to crime stats year over year. The best remedy is perspective.

Go back at look at the actual numbers from the 70s and 80s for the entire State. It’s shocking. Peak robbery numbers were 100,000+.


There is also a wealth of historical info for the City specifically and broken down by precincts:


Things are not like the 80s again. Not even close. The comparison is almost absurd, to be frank.
 
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enviro5609

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and the Compstat reports are also public, they are very up to date... in most respects, 21 is better than 20
This is where you get into the real legal minutiae, and the potential for manipulation (deliberate or not) of the stats.

The main difference between a robbery and a grand larceny is the use of force or the threat of the use of force. But what constitutes force? If someone gets their iPhone snatched out of their pocket while waiting for a cab, is that a Robbery? Grandy Larceny? How much was the phone worth? Maybe its just Petit Larceny? Did the person notice the phone being snatched? Did they see or notice the thief? Was the person touched? Were words exchanged?

While that reads like a bar exam question (and there is a legally "right" answer) the "right" answer doesn't matter. What the crime is written up as is entirely up to NYPD and the officer taking the report-- regardless of what the actual charge accepted by the District Attorney is (if any). There are no lawyers involved in the classification by NYPD.

None of that is to accuse anyone of anything deliberate or improper. Its just important to note the inherent potential for human error or other unknown variables involved when trying to draw direct comparisons to crime stats year over year. And that's before we even get into reporting rates or other interesting, "freakanomics-esque" variables that affect trying to calculate the "true" crime rate vs. the reported crime rate.
 

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When I was there in May, there were lots of NYPD on the streets and in Penn Station and Moynihan, and I didn't see any Homeless People in Moynihan, only inside Penn Station, and to me it appeared to be not nearly as bad as it used to be when they literally lived inside Penn Station. .
I was there the same time as you were I noticed the same.
 

PVD

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This is where you get into the real legal minutiae, and the potential for manipulation (deliberate or not) of the stats.

The main difference between a robbery and a grand larceny is the use of force or the threat of the use of force. But what constitutes force? If someone gets their iPhone snatched out of their pocket while waiting for a cab, is that a Robbery? Grandy Larceny? How much was the phone worth? Maybe its just Petit Larceny? Did the person notice the phone being snatched? Did they see or notice the thief? Was the person touched? Were words exchanged?

While that reads like a bar exam question (and there is a legally "right" answer) the "right" answer doesn't matter. What the crime is written up as is entirely up to NYPD and the officer taking the report-- regardless of what the actual charge accepted by the District Attorney is (if any). There are no lawyers involved in the classification by NYPD.

None of that is to accuse anyone of anything deliberate or improper. Its just important to note the inherent potential for human error or other unknown variables involved when trying to draw direct comparisons to crime stats year over year. And that's before we even get into reporting rates or other interesting, "freakanomics-esque" variables that affect trying to calculate the "true" crime rate vs. the reported crime rate.
what doesn't change is the location data of the event.... you can see problem areas regardless of charges
 

enviro5609

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what doesn't change is the location data of the event.... you can see problem areas regardless of charges
Very true, but CompStat and most crime data discourse focuses on the “7 major felonies” instead of just aggregate crime numbers. It’s why there have been scandals and rumors in the past about juking the stats. For instance, if all the focus and incentives are placed on driving down those 7 crimes, there could be a perverse incentive to classify what should be a felony assault as a misdemeanor assault, or a grand larceny a petit larceny. Or closing out a report as “unfounded” if there are no leads, which removes it from the crime data totals.

This is not a new issue, and there’s a lot of research done on trying to find the “true” crime rate.


There have been reforms in recent years, and many of those lesser alternative charges are now also listed at CompStat along the 7 majors. This helps with oversight and data integrity.

One of the most interesting attempts I saw in recent years to try and track the “true” rate of assault was looking at hospital admissions. But I can’t seem to find the link now.
 

fdaley

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As enviro5609 points out, a 189 percent increase from a small number is still a small number, and NYC crime rates are still better than in most other large cities -- and vastly lower than they were in the 1980s when I was commuting into Midtown every day. Even in those days, I never felt at risk in busy areas in daylight or even well into the evening, though I know there were (and probably still are) crooks who prey on people who look like they don't know their way around. It's always wise to put on your best New Yorker face and attitude while you're there, even if you're from somewhere else.

We passed through four times this summer on our way between Pennsylvania and Maine. As we were transferring between NJT and the Boston Acela, we got to experience both the old Penn Station and the Moynihan hall. Although the latter is probably not as magnificent as the Pennsylvania Station of old, it's a great public space and a huge improvement over what we've all endured for decades. The first-class lounge was impressive with all its natural light, and even the coach/business waiting area represents a big upgrade from what came before. We appreciated the upgraded facilities and in particular the gender-neutral restrooms, which are a wonderful convenience if you have someone traveling in a wheelchair who needs assistance.
 

PaTrainFan

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Regarding the DailyMail article:

NY’er here. Without disclosing too much personal information, my work is very adjacent to public safety. There is currently a lot of discussion and debate in the City over “crime numbers.” A lot of it seems intentionally inflammatory for local political reasons. Without getting into any of that, it’s helpful to put things into perspective.

Crime is still near all time lows, and a tiny fraction of what it was in the 70s through 90s. What you are seeing is a function of small numbers and statistics.

The area around Penn is remarkably safe for the City, and NYC itself is one of the safest cities in the country.

Yes, crime is up big percentages year over year in some local areas. But stats like that can be misleading, especially at low numbers. NYC was at record lows for almost every crime category in 2018-2019. Major 7 felonies in the area around Penn were down to minuscule numbers. So a number like “robberies increase of 189%!” sounds pretty scary, but is really just inflammatory when it’s a jump from a record low of 97 to 280 in that particular precinct.

How is it inflammatory? Hundreds of thousands if not millions of people pass through that small and dense area every day. An increase from 97 to 280 is almost a statistical aberration in terms of per 100,000 daily population. The numbers now are the same that they were under Bloomberg. Was anyone worried about crime then? No, these same numbers were record lows then, and celebrated.

All of that is to say there is a lot of recency bias and room for interpretation and manipulation when it comes to crime stats year over year. The best remedy is perspective.

Go back at look at the actual numbers from the 70s and 80s for the entire State. It’s shocking. Peak robbery numbers were 100,000+.


There is also a wealth of historical info for the City specifically and broken down by precincts:


Things are not like the 80s again. Not even close. The comparison is almost absurd, to be frank.
This is excellent perspective. Thank you.
 
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