Student Research Projects

The New York City Subway System and the Decline of Crime, 1960-2000: Police Actions and Methods of Control

Student Rachel Topping
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department History
Course HIST 360: Junior Research Seminar


This paper explores the methods and programs used by either the police or other government officials to lower crime in the New York City subways during and after the 1970s. It draws upon statistical breakdowns of crime, contemporary newspaper articles, scholarly studies, and other research to examine the question. The results demonstrate that the police, through retraining and the use of new technologies, along with private citizens, who began a series of extralegal actions, lowered the crime rate on the New York City subway system. The implications help show that the retraining of police is important as criminals learn new ways in order to commit crimes. Such actions can lead to stronger, faster, and smarter prevention.