BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
Following repeated requests by Metropolitan Transportation Authority board member David Jones for the city’s Police Department to release data on the locations and racial breakdown of fare evasion arrests, the City Council has passed a bill by Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest) to demand that the NYPD provide such data quarterly.
“What we know is that the mayor’s insistence on using arrests and criminal prosecution for fare evasion, all while a civil alternative is readily available, has disproportionately impacted brown and black New Yorkers,” said Lancman. “However, what we do not know is how the NYPD is focusing its fare evasion enforcement and which precincts are spending the most time and resources chasing after fare beaters. My bill will change that by providing the public with the data needed to understand the extent to which communities of color are over-policed when it comes to fare evasion. Sound public policy is only possible with complete data.”
The bill would enable the public to be informed on how law enforcement uses its resources regarding evasion arrests as well as the number of juveniles under 18 years who were given summonses.
According to data, the NYPD stopped 30,000 people for jumping a turnstile during the first six months of 2017, issuing 75 percent of those people with civil summons for violating MTA rules against fare evasion. Within that same time period, 8,625 of those individuals were arrested for “theft of services,”which is a misdemeanor offense under state penal law. Of those arrests made, 90 percent were black or Latino.