NYPD Continues to Withhold Key Fare Evasion Info, Lancman Says

 Councilmember Rory Lancman and the Community Service Society of New York sued the city and NYPD to release fare evasion arrest data as mandated by a 2017 law. // Photo courtesy of Rory Lancman

Councilmember Rory Lancman and the Community Service Society of New York sued the city and NYPD to release fare evasion arrest data as mandated by a 2017 law. // Photo courtesy of Rory Lancman

By David Brand

Though the NYPD released some fare evasion arrest data Wednesday, they continue to withhold key information in violation of city law, say Councilmember Rory Lancman and the Community Service Society of New York.

Under a city law that took effect at the beginning of the year, the NYPD must separate the data into categories based on subway station and the transit bureau district in which the arrest occurred as well as the race, sex and age group of the person arrested or issued a summons. The NYPD is supposed to publish the data every quarter.

The NYPD did not issue the last three quarterly reports, which should have been published on Jan. 30, April 30 and July 30 of this year, until Wednesday. But that wasn’t enough for advocates who say the city needs to examine the data to confront vast racial disparities in subway arrests.

The sliver of the data that the NYPD published on the city website does not provide any information about arrests at 372 subway stations and does not include the number of people of each race, age or gender who were arrested.

Instead, the data only includes the percentage of total arrests that occurred at the 100 stations where the most arrests took place.

“Today's NYPD disclosure of limited fare evasion data is a sham and makes a mockery of the law its leadership has sworn to uphold, underscoring the City's refusal to confront the racial disparities in how fare evasion is enforced,” said Council Member Rory I. Lancman, chair of the Committee on the Justice System. “The data the Police Department released today is nothing more than a smokescreen that undermines both the letter and the spirit of the law. We will continue to fight this battle in court.”

Three of the top ten stations in terms of fare evasions arrests are located in Queens. They include Roosevelt Ave.-Jackson Heights, Beach 60th Street and Parsons/Archer-Jamaica Center. Each accounted for 2.1 percent of total fare-evasion arrests citywide.

Though fare evasion arrests have decreased significantly since 2014, people of color continue to comprise nearly 90 percent of individuals arrests for jumping the turnstile or running through the open emergency exit door and onto the subway platform, according to a September report by Marshall Project.