Mayor de Blasio played tough cop on Friday, vowing to crack down on fare evaders and get homeless people out of the subways after a frustrated radio caller said the “whole system is falling apart.”
Walter from the Upper East Side told the mayor his tale of subway woes — the hordes of turnstile jumpers, homeless people slumbering on the seats, and few police officers in sight.
“It seems like the whole system is falling apart. Few of us are paying and more people are riding without paying. What do you have to say about that?” Walter asked during the mayor’s weekly WNYC radio appearance.
De Blasio said he takes fare evasion “very seriously.”
“The NYPD has changed its approach to have more officers available and visible where the problem exists and you’ll see more and more officers going forward to address fare evasion,” de Blasio vowed.
He also said the city is “trying to do an objective study” to determine the number of people who take mass transit without paying.
Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Queens) sued the mayor and the NYPD last year, claiming they’ve ignored a law requiring them to post online reports detailing arrests and summonses for fare evasion.
The mayor also promised an “aggressive effort that you’ll be seeing the results of to get folks, the homeless who are on the subways to come up and come into shelters once and for all.”
He continued his law and order mantra throughout the show — saying he’s concerned about a WNYC report that found prosecutors maintain private lists of cops who are unreliable witnesses at trial, but he did not endorse making the databases public.
“I do not believe it’s time to make something public until we know what it really means and how objective it is,” the mayor said.
Lastly, he defended the NYPD’s crackdown on gangs amidst a report by CUNY Professor Babe Howell claiming sweeping raids of Bronx crews ensnare innocent people.
“The gang take-downs which involve a thorough investigation and then indictment and then trial have resulted in making a lot of communities safer,” the mayor said.
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