The New York Police Department is attempting to battle subway crime by waking up slumbering riders who appear at risk of becoming victims, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. About half of reported crime in subways involves sleeping passengers, Police Commissioner William Bratton said. 

Bratton said one of the areas "we want to focus on is subways are not for sleeping,” the Wall Street Journal reported. “I know a lot of people are tired, they work very hard, but our officers are going to be instructed to wake people up. … Seriously, by sleeping, you make yourself, as reflected in our crime stats, a very easy victim.” 

Subway sleepers put themselves at risk for having their wallets stolen or becoming victims of sexual assault, Bratton said. While total crime in the transit system is up, there has been a decrease in most crime citywide, the Wall Street Journal reported.  

RTR3RDV9 A commuter listens to Beats brand headphones while riding the subway in New York, May 29, 2014. Photo: Reuters

Subway crimes have been thrust into the public spotlight after a slew of high-profile slashings, both provoked and unprovoked. So far, there have been 10 subway slashings or stabbings this year. 

In response, the Guardian Angels — a group of unarmed crime prevention volunteers — have reportedly returned to patrol New York City subways for the first time in more than 20 years. Roughly 150 Guardian Angels have been rotating patrolling dozens of subway lines, seven days a week, since Monday.

Curtis Sliwa , 61, who founded the organization in 1979 said people “were appealing to us. They were calling us, reaching out to us. When we were on the trains, people would converse with us and say, ‘We need you back,’ ” Time reported. “There’s an aggressiveness that’s taking place in the subways that hasn’t taken place for quite some time. My sense over the years is that we’re beginning to slip back.”