Apparently NYC’s mayor is serious about metal detectors in the subway

It would be a massive pain in the ass and he might not even have the authority, but okay, sure.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Policing keeps people safe, right? That’s why 16 people weren’t injured in a shooting on New York City’s subway last week. Oh, wait. At least the police used all the manpower and technology they had to catch the guy, right? Haha. But no worries! City officials have come up with an awesome plan to address the shooting: Put metal detectors in NYC’s subway system.

Last week, Mayor Eric Adams, a former transit cop himself, mentioned using technology to increase security. On Monday, he confirmed that he’s eyeing three types of metal detectors. That includes those from Massachusetts-based Evolv, a company that claims its metal detector can distinguish weapons like guns from everyday objects like cell phones. Fun fact: It cannot.

“New Yorkers are going to feel safe knowing that when they swipe their MetroCards that we’re doing some type of check to make sure people are not carrying weapons on our system,” Adams told reporters during Monday’s news conference.

Gothamist reported that Adams hasn’t confirmed any details about the tech yet. All he’s confirmed is that he’s leaving research up to Phil Banks, the deputy mayor for public safety. But there are a lot of questions that need to be answered. Like, where will the metal detectors go? Who is going to monitor them? But honestly, most people are just stuck on how this latest piece of security theater will be a massive pain in the ass.

This isn’t the first time NYC is trying out metal detectors. In 2018, the NYPD installed one at the Port Authority as part of a pilot program to address terror attacks. While NYPD insisted this month’s shooting in Brooklyn wasn’t an act of terrorism, Adams said in a statement at the time, “We will not allow New Yorkers to be terrorized, even by a single individual.”

Gothamist reported that when the NYPD rolled out its 2018 program, Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said it will only “impart an illusion of safety and security at the very high cost of freedom.”

For Adams, security theater seems like it’ll be a central part of his legacy as mayor. Before the shooting, he’d already sent an additional 1,000 officers into subways as part of his efforts to increase police presence. And in an interview with CNN last week, Adams said he’ll double the police presence in the subway system.

Still, it’s not even clear whether Adams would have the authority to install metal detectors in the subway. And maybe officials will get some sense and not flood more money into a policing system that, obviously, hasn’t solved anything. But that seems unlikely. For now, it looks like New Yorkers can look forward to navigating a mini-TSA every day. Wonder how long it’ll be before they make you take your shoes off to board.