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Mayor Eric Adams announced plans to test gun detection technology in New York City’s subway system in response to recent violence. The technology pilot, in partnership with Evolv Technology, would roll out in a few stations to help provide a sense of security among riders. Evolv’s devices are programmed to detect weapons, but civil liberties advocates question the need for more surveillance equipment in a system already heavily monitored.

The high cost of the devices raises concerns, with leasing a single unit costing about $125,000 over four years. Mayor Adams emphasized the importance of addressing safety concerns, with crimes in the subway up 4% this year. The announcement follows a recent deadly shoving attack in East Harlem and showcases an increased focus on public safety in the city’s transit system. Adams also announced a $20 million investment in deploying mental health workers in the subway to address issues related to mental illness.

Some technology experts criticize the reliability of the gun detection technology promoted by the mayor, arguing that it may slow down commuters without providing adequate safety measures. Concerns are raised about the invasion of privacy and the emphasis on using technology to address safety concerns rather than investing in alternative approaches. The Legal Aid Society has requested an investigation into the Police Department’s use of surveillance technology to ensure transparency and data protection.

Supporters of the gun detection initiative believe that if the technology can keep weapons off platforms and trains without delaying service, riders will benefit from increased peace of mind. Mayor Adams, known for his tech-forward approach to public safety, has introduced other high-tech solutions since taking office, including robotic patrols and drone usage. The announcement marks the beginning of a 90-day waiting period for public input on the new surveillance technology before deployment.

Efforts to enhance subway safety include deploying additional law enforcement officers, mental health workers, and surveillance cameras in response to rider concerns. Thousands of officers, including National Guard soldiers, State Police troopers, and city police officers patrol the system, while healthcare workers assist with homeless outreach. Structural features, such as new fare gates and platform barriers, are being tested to increase safety and deter criminal activity. By the end of the year, every train car will be equipped with surveillance cameras to improve overall security in the subway system.

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