No matter how commuters feel about the subway performers they encounter throughout the city, the NYPD seems to have had enough of the antics. Over 240 have been arrested so far in this year, compared to 40 at this time in 2013. The dramatic increase in arrests clearly shows how much the NYPD are concentrated on the issue.
Police Commissioner William Bratton may have expected these results, as he spoke on the issue back in April of this year. “Those activities just create a sense of fear, or that we’re not paying attention to disorder,” he said. “We are paying a lot of attention to disorder.”
At our commuter school students are familiar with the performers on the A, D or other lines that lead to CCNY, especially between 59th and 125th Streets. One student disagrees with the commissioner’s views. “I don’t think that’s fair because the performances don’t really seem any more reckless than they’ve ever been,” says English-major, Anais McAllister. “If there were actual reports of people getting hurt or robbed, that would be more justified, but there haven’t been.”
The seemingly new initiative of the NYPD, to rid the subway of pesky performers, has an underlying theme according to Joo-Hyn Kang, a spokesperson for the organization Communities United for Police Reform. “Arresting young people who dance on the train, who are often from working-class communities of color, needlessly criminalizes those engaged in positive activities and only exacerbates the severe inequalities within our city,” Kang claims. “It’s a wasteful use of limited police resources that doesn’t help address violence or real crimes, and does nothing to make us safer.”
Even with criticism of their new approach to the subway performers, the NYPD will be continuing the practices. For those who enjoyed the performances, this will certainly put a damper on their commute. But for those who found the performances annoying, there can be no greater news.