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New York City Subway Violence and Celaya, Mexico Gang Violence

May 19-25, 2022 | Issue 9 - NORTHCOM

Savannah Fellows, Jan García, Gabriel Mariotti, Maria Ruehl, Rhiannon Thomas, NORTHCOM Team

Jennifer Loy, Chief of Staff



New York City subway train[1]



Date: May 22, 2022

Location: New York City subway, US

Parties involved: New York Governor Kathy Hochul; New York Police Department (NYPD) Chief Kenneth Corey; NYPD; New York City subway security; New York City subway riders

The event: An unidentified gunman fatally shot a 48-year-old man on the New York subway.[2] The suspect pulled out a gun, fired it at the victim as the train was crossing the Manhattan Bridge, and escaped at Canal Street Station. The suspect was described as a heavy-set, "dark-skinned" man with a beard, wearing a hooded sweatshirt, gray sweatpants, and white sneakers. After the event, Kathy Hochul committed to working for greater security, as there has been a rise in violent attacks in the NYC subway recently.[3]

Analysis & Implications:

  • This attack is very likely continuing a trend of increasing violence in the US and attacks on US transport systems. This trend will likely continue to rise, with a roughly even chance of individuals with violent tendencies being inspired by the current incident to conduct future attacks. Violence in the US and attacks on transport systems will very likely increase feelings of insecurity in public due to attacks being in highly populated areas. The public is likely to pressure local law enforcement and government authorities to continue increasing security measures to combat attacks due to increased feelings of insecurity when taking public transport.

  • Law enforcement and New York City subway security will likely increase their security presence in high transportation areas with a roughly even chance of deterring violent attacks. As the trend in violence and feelings of insecurity are likely to continue, NYC subway riders will likely hold Governor Hochul and Chief Corey accountable for not implementing effective security measures. There is a roughly even chance that feelings of insecurity in highly populated transportation areas will result in public demonstrations, likely increasing pressure on security authorities to implement alternative security approaches to ensure transport systems remain safe.


Date: May 23, 2022

Location: Celaya, Guanajuato, Mexico

Parties involved: Mexican government; Mexican National Guard; Mexican Defense Ministry; Guanajuato state security forces; Mexican citizens; Mexican gangs

The event: Late on Monday night local time, 15 gunmen fired into two bars in Celaya, resulting in at least 11 deaths and two wounded. Messages on posters related to a criminal group were found at the crime scene where Molotov cocktails were thrown. Violence has recently increased in the Guanajuato state due to Mexican drug gangs' competition for the area control.[4]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Guanajuato state will very likely continue to be one of the most violent regions in Mexico due to the high number of gang members present. Gang influence has almost certainly increased in Guanajuato, very likely due to their control by instilling fear and unrest in the civilian population. This fear from gangs and civilians’ perceived ineffectiveness of security will likely enable the expansion of gang influence and violence in bordering regions.

  • The highly visible attack almost certainly reflects the gangs’ willingness to commit crimes without fear of repercussion. Without concerns over being arrested, future attacks will almost certainly become increasingly violent, very likely putting more civilians at risk of being caught in an attack because gangs will very likely be more willing to attack their targets in public places. More violent attacks without legal consequences will very likely lead to stronger and bolder gang territory controls by visibly occupying its areas with armed forces and preventing local police departments from effectively operating, likely through bribes or force. Mexican citizens in these areas will very likely remain vulnerable as citizens and law enforcement will likely be threatened with violence from gangs to surrender to their demands.

________________________________________________________________________ The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)

[1]NYC Subway” by frankieleon licensed under Creative Commons

[2] Man Fatally Shot on Manhattan Subway in Unprovoked Attack, The New York Times, May 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/22/nyregion/nyc-subway-shooting.html

[3] Man fatally shot on New York City subway in latest random attack, Reuters, May 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/us/man-shot-dead-new-york-city-subway-latest-random-attack-2022-05-22/

[4] At least 11 killed in central Mexico in apparent gangland attack, Reuters, May 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/least-11-killed-central-mexico-apparent-gangland-attack-media-2022-05-24/

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