Marathon bombing cited for dip in fare evasion citations
The Boston Marathon bombings and the weeks following the attack may account for a slight dip in fare evasion citations handed out in 2013, according to Transit Police.
Since January, MBTA officers issued roughly 2,800 tickets to people caught sneaking into the transit system without paying — a few hundred less than the same period in 2012.
“Part of what could be driving the drop is the two-week period after the Boston Marathon bombing,” said Deputy Chief Robert Lenehan. “The additional Transit Police, National Guardsmen and (state) troopers in the system during that time may have been a deterrent.”
The ramped-up police presence was meant to protect the transit system and comfort passengers following the harrowing terror attack, but Lenehan said one unanticipated result was a reduction in petty crimes.
“Our primary focus was not on writing fare evasion tickets, but reassuring the public and deterring another terrorist act,” Lenehan said.
So-called Part 1 crimes, which include homicide, rape, robbery, assault and burglary, were down 21 percent in July 2013 compared to last July, Lenehan said.
Last summer, the Transit Police launched Operation Fare Game, a crackdown on fare evasion and other “quality of life crimes” like smoking and harassment. Lenehan said the crackdown has been effective in deterring criminals, and that police plan to continue stocking T stations with additional undercover officers.
Last year, the number of fare evasion citations handed out was far greater than in 2011.
“Not every person caught fare evading is wanted for (a more serious crime), but a lot of criminals are more likely to fare evade,” Lenehan said.