Penn Station shooting just latest in crime spike at the terminal

The rush-hour shooting of a New Jersey commuter outside Penn Station Monday is just the latest example of a disturbing uptick in crime in and around the bustling transit hub.

Robberies, assaults, burglaries and rapes have all spiked since 2019 in the Midtown South precinct, which encompasses Penn Station and Times Square, according to NYPD statistics as of Sunday.

So far this year, nine people have been shot in seven incidents — compared to zero for the same pre-COVID-19 period in 2019.

“It’s a s–thole,” one law enforcement source told The Post on Tuesday. “It’s drugs. They come from all over … Some are just homeless. Now that [Madison Square Garden] is open you’re going to see scalpers, hustlers, and the residual [violence].”

NYPD statistics show an uptick in crime around Penn Station.
Peter Gerber for NY Post

On Monday, Christopher Farrell, 58, was struck in the leg by a stray bullet after a gunman opened fire in a feud over food with another man just steps from the entrance of Penn Station. Farrell underwent surgery Tuesday, sources said.

The broad daylight shooting — which happened at around 5:50 p.m. — is just the latest in a rash of crimes in the area.

In June, a 46-year-old deranged man wielded an axe during a squabble on a subway train as it pulled into Penn Station. A day earlier, a straphanger was stabbed twice aboard a No. 2 train at the station by a belligerent stranger.

And, in April, a 24-year-old man was sucker-punched outside the station by a man shouting anti-gay slurs.

A person was shot outside of Penn Station on Aug. 23, 2021.
A person was shot outside of Penn Station on Aug. 23, 2021.
Peter Gerber for NY Post

NYPD data shows most major crimes in Midtown South are up so far this year compared to the same period in 2019. Felony assaults have ballooned by 127 percent to 300 incidents versus 132 and burglaries have also spiked 146 percent, from 106 incidents to 261. Misdemeanor assaults are also up from 422 incidents in 2019 to 582 so far this year.

The alarming rise in crime now has commuters looking over their shoulders.

“The area is horrible,” Long Island healthcare worker Jacquelin Franzese said at Penn Station Tuesday. “I see tons of derelicts everywhere. I have been followed by bums harassing me, asking for money. I saw some people that looked like they were smoking crack on the stairs.”

Nine people have been shot in seven incidents this year in the Midtown South precinct that encompasses Penn Station and Times Square.
Nine people have been shot in seven incidents this year in the Midtown South precinct that encompasses Penn Station and Times Square.
Peter Gerber for NY Post

“It’s really sad, but given the way the city has been going I can’t say I’m shocked,” Franzese, 34, said. “It’s real. I’m living it.”

Bronx resident Nellie Santiago, 61, said things have gotten so bad at the terminal that she only carries small bags when passing through “because if I use a bigger bag I get pick-pocketed. They snatch it.”

“Police are not arresting anyone,” Santiago said. “They need to be more hands-on. They need more police.”

Robberies, assaults, burglaries and rapes are all up in the area around Penn Station, according to NYPD statistics.
Robberies, assaults, burglaries and rapes are all up in the area around Penn Station, according to NYPD statistics.
Matthew McDermott

Another law enforcement source called Penn Station — which opened its palatial $1.6 billion Moynihan Train Hall in January — “arguably one of the biggest hubs for mental illness, drug addiction, homelessness in the city.”

“And they put absolutely no resources,” he said. “No one is giving these people services.”

Additional reporting by Tina Moore

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