Arrests for panhandling and peddling in New York City’s subways have tripled so far this year when compared with 2013, an indication that Police Commissioner William Bratton is taking on the quality-of-life issue as promised, the Wall Street Journal reports. Officers have arrested 274 panhandlers or peddlers through March 2, compared with 90 through the same period in 2013. The total number of arrests, crime complaints and stops for suspicious activity in the transit system have decreased in the same time frame.
“Late last year they identified a quality-of-life issue in the subway,” said Sgt. Brendan Ryan, an NYPD spokesman. “They did a review of entire system and they continue to address it.” Those who have followed Bratton’s career said his focus on the subways should not come as a surprise. “He always talks about this and for right reasons,” said Richard Aborn, president of the nonprofit Citizens Crime Commission of New York City. “One of the things that cracking down on farebeating does is lets you work with these criminals before they commit higher level offenses. It’s an opportunity to intervene.”