New York police officers believe that if they can lock up habitual subway fare beaters, they can stop those among them who might go on to commit more serious crimes or who are already wanted, says the New York Times. The police catch 7,000 people a month trying to avoid paying fares; about 400 of them turn out to be the subjects of arrest warrants. On Tuesday, a 32-year-old man who tried to beat a fare in a Queens subway station shot and wounded two police officers who attempted to arrest him – using one officer's gun to do so. The man, Raul Alfonso Nuñez, is an ex-convict who was deported in 1998 for a narcotics violation and apparently feared being deported again.
More than 2,000 uniformed officers are stationed in the subways every day, and plainclothes officers carry out anticrime operations. At crowded stations, during peak travel times, they look for sexual misconduct, usually men rubbing up against women or exposing themselves. Officials say crime in the subway system has dipped, to an average of 6.5 crimes a day in 2007 from 48 a day in 1990.