Data: Despite decline in ridership, felony assault numbers in transit system hold steady

New numbers from the NYPD show that overall crime is down in the transit system -- except when it comes to felony assaults.
While assault numbers for this year and last year are nearly the same, the MTA says ridership is down by more than 60%.
This time last year, the NYPD says 78 felony assaults had been reported. In 2021 so far, they say 79 have already been reported despite far fewer riders.
In the last few weeks, the NYPD has deployed additional officers to the subway systems and has also created a Transit Crime Squad with 100 detectives to help solve cases.
Advocates for Transit Riders say ridership is playing a big role in the reported assaults. 
The MTA agreed and released a statement saying, “We continue to call on the city to surge mental health services into the subways. We continue to believe more (officers) are needed as the city reopens and we welcome riders back.”
Advocates tell News 12 the root of these incidents can be fixed by the MTA or the NYPD and require social services.