Source: Wikimedia Commons

Reader Mike N. wrote to point out what he believes is a waste of NYPD resources: catching fare-beaters on the Voorhies Avenue side of the Sheepshead Bay subway station.

Do you know that since the token booth, which became a non-selling booth, was removed from the Shore Parkway entrance, police stand at the other entrance watching the TV monitors, and when someone jumps a turnstile (no high gates here) they then walk up to the platform and surprise them with a ticket.

Often there are two to three officers watching at one time. Yes, it’s a violation to avoid a fare, but wouldn’t it be more prudent to put gate-style turnstiles that can’t be jumped at all unattended stations?

This would 100% solve the fare avoidance problem…however, it would stop the sweet flow of $105 tickets into the MTA coffers. And why are there no policemen ever stationed at the unattended turnstiles? Wouldn’t it make more sense for public safety to have officers where the ‘eyes and ears’ of the booth clerks are absent? (I know…the booth clerks aren’t much help).

Briefly, rather than the practical use of officers to guard an unwatched, potentially dangerous entry (I do understand that they technically are watching, but nobody sees them, so they do not deter crime), the officers are used to generate revenue.

It doesn’t sound like Mike believes the problem is going after fare beaters – who should be caught for stealing from all taxpayers. But he thinks the problem can be solved more easily and those NYPD resources redeployed for something more useful. What do you think?

Is there an issue you’d like to sound off about, or a problem you want to shed light on? E-mail editor [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com and we’ll consider publishing it!

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  • NYC Cit

    At first I also got a little upset that the police are only there to collect revenue and that might be the case but there’s also an interesting side effect if you think about it: after the jumper gets a ticket he or she would hesitate to ever do it again even if there’s nobody around because they would always wonder if the cops are watching them on camera… as far as the entrances being safe or not — I will always maintain that the police won’t protect you, it’s really just up to you. That’s why CCW permits should be issued to law abiding citizens like they do in the rest of NYS and other states. Even the higher courts ruled that the cops are not obligated to protect you. They are nothing more than report filers nowadays… truly a thankless job they have in the current political climate.

    • Gene Kuflick

      So a good lesson here to the bad guys planning something really BIG is to make sure you swipe your Metro card first!

  • bagels

    Those officers should be deployed to Times Square or one of the bridges. If the city has no intention of opening up the token booth then it should install one of those gates, pronto. With this ISIS shit going on and 9/11 approaching you would think the city would exercise a little common sense and be more proactive in protecting our asses. Two weeks ago on a Sunday there were two cops on the marine parkway bridge telling riders to walk their bikes across. Classic example of chasing the mouse while the elephant gets away.

  • BOSBay

    While the cops might be better occupied elsewhere, and it might be better to install a more secure entrance at that end of the station, to call this “entrapment” goes beyond what’s reasonable. I guess this is all part of Commissioner Bratton’s push on quality-of-life enforcement, and as Telly Savalas might have said, “If you can’t pay the dime, don’t do the crime.”

  • winson

    the cops should have been at the Voorheis Avenue entrance, someone can easily hop on the train before the police catch them

  • Andrew

    I’m sorry? Entrapment? Seriously?

    HEET’s (the tall revolving doors) have much lower capacity than standard turnstiles, are harder to use with luggage or large packages, and are hardly immune to fare evasion (I often see people double-up to get through on one fare). With the last round of booth closings in 2010, the standard turnstiles were left in place, and HEET’s have been gradually replaced with standard turnstiles elsewhere – a process that has been far far too slow for my own taste.

    I don’t want criminals and would-be criminals to avoid criminal activity only when they see police officers watching. I want them to avoid criminal activity even when they don’t.

    If you don’t want a ticket for jumping the turnstile, don’t jump the turnstile – whether or not you see anybody watching.

  • CrimePaysHere

    Hmm, someone goes thru without paying and that’s entrapment? You kidding me? I guess if I get mugged and a cop is watching from a block away, that will soon be entrapment. It’s settled. NYC is going to go back to the Koch-Dinkins crime days. The citizens demand it!

  • BrooklynBus

    I don’t believe it is entrapment. Now the fare beaters will know to wait for the sign to light up before they jump the turnstile so they can get on the train before the cops can get to the station when they realize there are TV monitors.

    For some reason, there have always been undercover cops at the main entrance. They always seem to stand out to me dressed in their baseball jerseys or caps. You can tell they are cops because although they pretend to be waiting for someone, and looking straight ahead, thir eyes are always moving from side to side watching for fare beaters and anything else wrong they might see.

    As far as closing the turnstiles or replacing them with HEETs, I’m sure the MTA weighed the associated costs and benefits and decided on the current strategy which allows them to move the cops from station to station, so you never know when someone is watching or not which is the idea.

  • Subway Stinker

    Fare beaters are just Felons in Training. These low level grifters are not jumping aboard to go to their offices, they are fare beating to get their work, which is to Commit Muggings and other crimes. Secondly, it is not Entrapment. If you swipe your metro card you are good to go. Why do so many Bites readers support The Right to Commit crime?