NEW YORK (PIX11) —-As New York City transit crimes continue to climb, fare evasion is costing the city some serious cash, officials said.
In just the first three months of this year, the MTA has lost $62 million in revenue from turnstile jumpers and an additional $57 million from passengers taking free bus rides, according to MTA data.
Both are approximately a 2% increase from the last three months of 2021, the stats show.
NYPD enforcement is also up. Police have issued 45, 667 summonses for fare beating this year, up from 36,669 in 2021, according to an NYPD spokesperson. Other transit crimes that have been a growing issue are grand larceny, robbery, and felony assault, according to Comp Stat figures.
The crackdown has caused some violent interactions between cops and offenders. Two teens were charged with assaulting a police officer after they were caught on video fighting with cops at the 125th Street and Lexington Avenue subway station Saturday. Police said the incident began when a 16-year-old allegedly jumped a turnstile.
In May, an NYPD officer was assaulted while trying to remove a turnstile jumper from a subway station in the Bronx. Cops stopped the alleged offender in the Gun Hill Road station, and instead of arresting the individual, decided to kick the person out of the train station, police said.
The perpetrator then punched the officer in the face before fleeing the scene, police said. The cop suffered pain, swelling, and bruising.
“We have seen over a 55% increase of assaults on officers this year,” NYPD Transit Chief Jason Wilcox said. “The majority of these assaults began as they were engaging persons who have committed fare evasion or other quality of life violations on the trains and stations.”
Currently, most theft-of-service cases are handled with summonses and rarely reach prosecution, according to a spokesman for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg does not prosecute fare beaters, according to a spokesman for his office.
One of the suspects in Saturday’s subway fight was already released after being arrested for robbery, NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said in a tweet.
“Once again, they are shown that there are no consequences for violent criminality,” she said in the social media post.
As recently as March, Mayor Eric Adams said the city’s district attorney’s should be prosecuting fare beaters. Adams, a former transit cop, said he wants people to remember it’s a crime.
“If we start saying it’s alright for you to jump the turnstile, we are creating an environment where any and everything goes,” Adams said at the PIX11 Democratic Mayoral Forum. “It’s a crime. Now, you can defer prosecution, you can put people in programs, you could do all sorts of things, but let’s not ignore it, and that’s what’s happening to our subway system.”