Arrests of peddlers and panhandlers in the subway have more than tripled over the past two months, compared to the same period last year. Officers have made 274 arrests. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton included the reduction of panhandling in the subway as a top priority in his inauguration speech. In a similar fashion, arrests at public housing for such violations as drinking beer in public and riding a bike on the sidewalk have increased to 21 percent from the same period last year. Such data is now available under Bratton, and was kept under wraps by the previous commissioner. Bratton sees the crackdown on low-level offenses as a way to deter more serious ones. Stop-and-frisks in the transit system, however, have dropped 96 percent.
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