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Subway Panhandler Arrests Triple Under New Police Commissioner: NYPD

Friday, Mar 7, 2014  |  Updated 7:26 PM EDT
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The NYPD is cracking down on panhandlers in the city's subway.  Katherine Creag reports.

The NYPD is cracking down on panhandlers in the city's subway. Katherine Creag reports.

The number of people arrested for panhandling and peddling in the city’s subways has more than tripled so far this year compared with 2013, according the NYPD.

NYPD Transit Bureau statistics show that officers have arrested 274 panhandlers and peddlers through Sunday, compared with 90 over the same period last year, police say. 

The Wall Street Journal reports that the spike in arrests comes after police say they saw an increase in complaints from straphangers about panhandlers. Total arrests and complaints on the subway have dropped over the same period.

The crackdown comes as the city's new commissioner, Bill Bratton, has talked about taking on quality-of-life issues. Earlier this week, the commissioner announced he would ride late-night subways to get insight into problems on the mass transit system.

Bratton has also hired the architect of the "broken windows theory" policing philosophy, George Kelling, as an NYPD consultant, the Journal reports. The theory advocates for targeting minor crimes as a way to deter more serious offenses. Kelling will accompany the commissioner on some of his late-night rides.

When Bratton was the chief of the city's transit police in the mid-1990s, he implemented the broken windows theory to combat crime underground, former police officer and criminal justice lecturer Eugene O'Donnell told the Journal.

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