Subway Arrests Have Skyrocketed Under Bratton

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New York City Subway dancer Marcus Walden ( Mr Wiggles)  performs with other members of his dance crew November 23, 2010. The dance crew of Donte Steele (Thebestuknow); Tamiek Steele ( B/Boy LJ) and Marcus Walden ( Mr Wiggles) perform their roughly 45-second routine between stops on the train running from 125th Street in Harlem to the Brooklyn Bridge.
Photo: Timothy A Clary/AFP/Getty Images

While stop-and-frisk numbers have continued to drop off in 2014, arrests of subway "peddlers and panhandlers" have tripled, reaching 274 in the first two months compared to 90 in the same period last year. Not that we should be that surprised: Police Commissioner Bill Bratton built his national reputation in the early '90s as the "zero-tolerance" chief of the New York City Transit Police (fun fact: until 1995, the MTA had its own law enforcement agency). But the crackdown against peccadilloes doesn't end at the subway steps: There has been an overall 21 percent increase in arrests for low-level violations citywide, from open alcohol containers to sidewalk bike-riding. “If you take care of the little things, then you can prevent a lot of the big things,” said Bratton. If anyone can stop the churros ladies from banding together with the guy who plays Tracy Chapman's "Baby Can I Hold You" to form a crime syndicate, it's the NYPD.