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MTA Committee Votes To Ban Criminals Who Repeatedly Target Riders, Workers

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The MTA is cracking down on criminals who target victims on subways and buses.

It's all in an effort to make rides safer for commuters and transit workers. 

The MTA Transit and Bus committee passed a resolution Monday to ban those who continuously commit crimes on the subway system. Now, they're calling on state lawmakers to take action.

According to a report by the MTA, there were 67 transit recidivist arrests in the first quarter of 2019.

Web Extra: Read MTA Committee Meeting Notes

"These are people who've made a career out of victimizing our ridership," NYPD Chief of Transit Edward Delatorre said.

Chief Delatorre spoke about a specific case at Monday's meeting, referring to one offender as "Mr. F."

"By the way, Mr. F has 65 priors – 65 priors – and he's also nearing the age of Social Security," he said.

He said police are trained to look for specific behavior from serial criminal offenders and often recognize those who have been arrested before.

Some board members, however, raised concerns about banning people from the subway system.

MORE: Gov. Cuomo Blasts Rash Of Attacks On MTA Workers: 'Public Employees Must Be Protected'

"The difficulty is, unless we characterize this extraordinarily narrowly, we're going to end up sweeping in people and making it almost certain that they're going to have to return to a life of crime, because they won't have transportation options," said Commissioner David Jones.

"I'm trying very hard to target this at literately people who appear to be using our transit system to target children, women, vulnerable, sleeping," board member Sarah Feinberg replied.

Commuters expressed a similar concern.

"That is a tough one. I know that people are concerned about their safety. Basically, if they're not able to ride the subway system, how could they get back and forth?" Lawrence Williams, of Passaic, New Jersey, said.

"If they pay dues and stuff like that, I think they should still be able to get on," said Kayla Banks, of Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.

MORE: NYPD Renews Call For Ban On Sex Offenders In The Subways

"On one hand, I understand it's for the safety of all the other subway passengers. But I also understand if they're intended to also live their lives in the city, they need to travel about," Brandon Cuadrado, of Ronkonkoma, said.

"If you keep committing the same crimes over and over again, then yeah, I believe you should be banned," said Derek Doeschner, of Valley Stream.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he supports the measure and released a statement calling it a "common sense issue."

"The New York State Legislature and criminal justice system have a responsibility to work with the MTA to ensure these perpetrators  -  who repeatedly target victims on our subways and buses - cannot continue this abhorrent behavior," the statement continued.

The full MTA board is expected to vote on the issue tomorrow. Then, it will head to the state legislature, where a similar measure failed in the latest session. The next session doesn't start until next year.

At this point, it's still unclear how the MTA would stop repeat offenders from entering the subway system.


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