June 14, 2006

Four stabbings at Times Square, New York subway

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two women tourists were stabbed near
Times Square in New York and a man knifed in a separate subway
attack early on Wednesday, police and prosecutors said.

The attacks followed a stabbing on Tuesday of a tourist
from Texas on a subway train on the city's Upper West Side.

A man was being questioned in the stabbings of the women
shortly after 4 a.m. Wednesday outside a hotel on Broadway, a
police spokesman said. The two, aged 22 and 25, were stabbed in
the back and hospitalized in stable condition.

The spokesman said police were investigating whether that
attack was linked to the two other stabbings.

About an hour earlier on Wednesday morning, a man was
stabbed on the platform of the subway station at Rockefeller
Center, police said. That victim was also was stable.

On Tuesday afternoon, a 21-year-old man was stabbed in the
chest on a subway train at West 110th Street, police said.

The victim's girlfriend told the Daily News tabloid the
attacker, a short man dressed in black, did not try to rob the
couple, tourists from Texas.

"All of a sudden, he gets up. He doesn't walk over. He's
leaping over," the woman, who asked not to be identified by
name, was quoted as saying. The attacker fled the train, on the
C line, at the next stop and got away.

The attacks came days after a report by the FBI on violent
crime in the United States showed New York was getting safer.

Over the past decade, city authorities have changed the
face of Times Square and other areas of Manhattan with tough
policies on crime that led to a sharp reduction in muggings and
other violent crimes in tourist areas.

The New York murder rate of 6.7 per 100,000 people is among
the lowest of major cities in the United States, with less than
half as many murders per capita as in Miami, Dallas, Chicago
and Houston, according to a report in The New York Times.