The Story

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has announced that he will cease prosecuting subway-fare evasion as a criminal offense, instead giving civil summonses to turnstile-jumpers. Brooklyn’s acting DA has indicated that he, too, might decriminalize fare-beating. If adopted, this new policy, aimed at eliminating a backlog of cases, will undercut decades of hard-won progress in subway safety, which was at the core of the policing revolution that turned New York City around.

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Safer: During a period of strict enforcement of subway fare collection, felonies committed in the subways fell from a rate of almost 50 per day in 1990 to fewer than 7 per day in 2017. Read more.

  2. Coffers: Though each $2.75 fare may seem trivial, farebox collection accounts for 40% of the MTA’s revenue. Read more.

  3. Guns: Searching turnstile jumpers frequently turns up illegal guns. Read more.

“By cracking down on fare evasion, we have been able to stop serious criminals carrying weapons at the turnstiles before they get on the subways and wreak havoc.”

William Bratton, former NYPD Commissioner

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

The Decriminalization Delusion By Heather Mac Donald (Autumn 2015)

“America doesn’t have an incarceration problem—it has a crime problem.”

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