NYC Putting Body Scanners In Subway, Mayor Calls It ‘Sputnik Moment’

"This is our Sputnik moment."
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 05: A man walks past a subway stop in Manhattan two days after a man was pushed to his death in front of a train on December 5, 2012 in New York City. The incident was caught by a photographer and has since raised questions as to why someone didn't help the man before the train struck him. The New York City subway system, with 468 stations in operation, is the most extensive public transportation system in the world. It is also one of the world's oldest public transit systems, with the first underground line of the subway opening on October 27, 1904.
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

New York City will soon install body scanners at several busy subway stations meant to check for people carrying guns.

Mayor Eric Adams announced a pilot program for the scanners at a news conference on Thursday at the Fulton Street subway station in Lower Manhattan.

“This is our Sputnik moment,” Adams said. “Like when Kennedy said we’re going to put a man on the moon. … Let’s bring on the scanners.”

The event included a demonstration of how the scanners work. The scanners appeared to flag a man carrying a loaded gun, but not a man with a backpack full of electronics.

However, subway riders will not be required to pass through the machines.

The new scanners will not be implemented for several months, however.

During a legally mandated 90-day waiting period, the NYPD will look for vendors of weapons detection technology. The public will be able to comment on the scanner program for the first 45 days of the waiting period.

The city has not said which subway stations will get scanners as part of the pilot program. Police are expected to monitor the machines to see if the program should be expanded.

“We are taking the next step forward in our ongoing efforts to make our subways even safer and ensure New Yorkers feel safer in the transit system,” Adams said Thursday.


The new scanners come amid a sharp increase in gun violence in the subway. Four subway killings have happened so far this year, just under the five that occurred over all of last year.

The NYPD says cops have seized 19 illegal guns in the subway so far this year, up from nine by this point last year.

Transit crime overall is up 4.4% so far this year compared to last year, according to NYPD data.

Earlier this month, Governor Kathy Hochul (D) deployed 750 National Guard soldiers into he subway system to check riders’ bags. Last month, the NYPD started sending another 1,000 officers into the subway system each day.

Nevertheless, the city’s announcement of new body scanners was met with criticism online.

“TSA-ifying the subway is not going to fix anything,” one X user wrote.

“Who will man this? A police officer? And how about when it does beep will there be enough police there to tackle the person if they get out of control? Yeah it’s all well and good to hear the beeping but then what do you do after?” another user wrote.

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