Subway Mayhem

The Story

New Yorkers were stunned to see footage of vagrants and thugs taking on an NYPD officer in a Chinatown subway station last week. Their shock was compounded when the Manhattan D.A. initially refused to prosecute the perpetrators. The incident highlights a number of troubling trends in New York City: a declining transit system and a hands-off prosecutorial approach that is effectively decriminalizing serious offenses.

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Unfair: Fare evasion is on the rise, which leads to increased underground crime by signaling that the subways are effectively lawless. Read more.

  2. Lax: Manhattan D.A. Cyrus Vance has elected not to pursue charges for a host of illegal public-order offenses—including fare-beating. Read more.

  3. Knife and Gun: Enforcement at the subway turnstile helps make the city safer by snaring people who are out on open warrants or carrying weapons. Read more.

“Maintaining the NYPD’s commitment to its proven crime-fighting methods is crucial, of course. But so is the broader citywide emphasis on public order.”

George L. Kelling, Manhattan Institute senior fellow

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

How New York Became Safe: The Full Story By George L. Kelling (Special Issue 2009)

“Just 20 years ago, New York City was racked with crime: murders, burglaries, drug deals, car thefts, thefts from cars.”

Scheduling Note


In observance of the New Year’s Day, The Beat will resume on Wednesday, January 2.

And in other news...

“As the New York City Department of Education tries to boost low literacy rates, its officials say they are trying to improve instruction in phonics, which helps children crack the code of how letters represent speech sounds.”