Police Find Fare-Evaders Are Often Wanted for Other Crimes and Are Carrying Weapons
By Yehudit Garmaise
Turnstile jumpers’ disorderly conduct and dangerous, life-threatening illegal activity on trains and platforms worries the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) even more than the loss of $690 million in revenue that fare-evaders cost the agency in 2022.
Fare evasion and carrying concealed weapons are activities on the train that are strongly correlated, pointed out NYPD Chief of Transit Michael Kemper, who said police often find those who refuse to pay $2.90 for a ride often end up having active warrants or are carrying guns and knives.
“We’re stopping people who are attempting to walk into the subway system with weapons: guns, knives, and other illegal weapons, Chief Kemper said. “We’re also stopping people from entering the system who are wanted for some serious crimes, such as murder and robbery.”
Police say that cracking down on fare-evaders prevents further crimes from taking place on the subway.
“When you take care of the little things, the big things don’t happen.” Inspector Steven Hill says, according to amny.com.
While some left-wing critics argue that police who issue fines to fare-evaders are unfairly targeting “low-income” people, Kempner not only said that NYPD officers are working to keep the public safe, but that poverty is not the main reason that people try to skip their fairs.
“Arrogance and entitlement,” is what Kempner says he sees. “This is about behavior-correcting, which weighs heavily on the rider’s mind. [We are looking out for] unlawful behavior and disorderly behavior. This is what this is all about.”
While looking out for fare-evaders, police, and commuters regularly observe riders who brazenly vault over turnstiles, pull the turnstiles back to use a single leg to hop over, and enter, without first paying, through emergency exits.
Some turnstile-jumpers wear long coats to hide their leaps to avoid swiping a metro card, while other fare-evaders are not embarrassed to get down on their hands and knees to crawl underneath the turnstile.
Even when caught in sneaking into subways, fare-evaders often protest, claim innocence, run away, or curse out police, say both the uniformed and plain-clothes police who patrol underground train stations.
By arresting 105,000 fare-evaders so far in 2023, police say they have done something much more important than just issuing tickets.
By cracking down on turnstile jumpers, transit police say they are saving New Yorkers’ lives.