NEW YORK (FOX5NY) - As the NYPD loosens its stance on punishing minor crimes, such as swiping someone through a turnstile in the subway, a new report shows serious crime on the rails has gone up.
According to the MTA, there has been a 14 percent increase in major felonies in the transit system: from 499 at this time last year to 572 this year. The biggest spike was in assaults and robberies.
The NYPD has a new policy to reduce the number of arrests for the illegal practice of swipe begging and other minor offenses.
Beginning on Monday, March 7, 2016, the NYPD stopped arresting people who commit low-level offenses in Manhattan, and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office will no longer prosecute most infractions or violations, including:
-Public Consumption of Alcohol
-Various subway offenses, such as Riding Between Cars, Taking Up More Than One Seat, Feet on the Seat
"They've arrested 10,000 people since 2013 and this will allow the police to actually focus on real crime in the subway," Nick Sifuentes with the Riders Alliance says.
In a statement to the New York Times, NYPD Transit Bureau Chief Joseph Fox said enforcement of card swipe rules is "integral to maintaining the civility for each of our millions of riders."
But those riders seem to think the bigger problem is violent crime.
Last month, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton acknowledged that subway violence is a problem and launched operation Cutting Edge, the city's way of tracking in detail when and where subway crime occurs.