NEW YORK - The NYPD announced Wednesday that it will no longer arrest people who jump subway turnstiles and have a low-level summons warrant on their record.
Police officials said fare beaters may instead be eligible for a summons to criminal or civil court unless they have more serious warrants for crimes such as robbery, murder, or assault.
Other warrants the NYPD said make a person evading a fare ineligible for a summons instead of an arrest include:
Misdemeanor or Felony warrant
On parole or probation
Designated a Transit Offender
Unsealed/open arrest in transit in the last 10 years for:
• Rape and related Sex offense
• Felony assault offenses
• Grand Larceny offenses
Unsealed/open arrest in transit in the last 3 years for:
• Felony weapon possession offenses
• Assault/Menacing/Harassment/Reckless Endangerment offenses
• Larceny/Forgery/Fraud offenses
• Criminal Mischief offenses
Unable to verify ID or address
Charged with a separate finger printable offenses
"This will ensure more police officers are on patrol — including at turnstiles — to continue to drive down crime in the nation's safest subway system," the NYPD said in a statement.
The change in arrest policy comes after advocates have for years argued that the NYPD should not arrest people with warrants for lesser crimes such as public drinking or public urination. Some, meanwhile, have called for police to issue only civil summonses for fare beaters, arguing fare evasions punish the poor.
Eliminating the arrests of fare beaters with low-level warrants is expected to significantly reduce the number of cases entering the criminal justice system.
A majority of people jump the turnstiles or sneak on the back of buses are given a summons, but advocates and some elected officials, including Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, say about 25 percent of those who are arrested clog up the court system and put people at risk of getting a criminal record.
The news comes on the say day the Manhattan district attorney's office ended the policy of prosecuting marijuana possession and smoking cases, and a month before the NYPD will stop making arrests for smoking marijuana.