(Photo by Kate Patterson for the Washington Post) Faiz Siddiqui Local journalist covering Washington DC subways, Uber and Lyft and transit-oriented technology start-ups On December 4 at 7:17 pm, the Council of European Democrats gave final approval to a measure to decriminalize theft. 39, evasion of metro fares, paving the way for the tariff jump to become a civil offense punishable by a $ 50 fine in the district, rather than existing criminal sanctions including arrest, a fine of up to $ 300 and up to 10 days. The measure was passed in the midst of fierce opposition from Metro and its board of directors, claiming that the transport agency is losing more than $ 25 million a year to prevent theft and that A reduction in sentences for such an offense would only exacerbate the problem and worsen crime. Council members and activists rejected this argument and said the decriminalization of the act was an important step in the fight against the continued disproportionate order of African Americans in the transit system. [D.C. Council votes to decriminalize Metro fare evasion] Security Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), who is also chairman of Metro's board, and chairman of the board, Phil Mendelson (D), were the only ones to vote against. "We are extremely disappointed with the Council's vote to decriminalize tariff evasion, which we believe will have significant financial and security implications for the region," said Metro spokesman Dan Stessel. , in a statement Tuesday night. "We hope the Council will come back to this issue once these impacts are understood. The agency said the decision would not have an immediate impact on how the Metro Transit police would apply the fare rules, saying that in the meantime, the police would "continue to do everything in its legal power to protect its customers and employees. " Proponents of the 2018 Metro Fare Evasion Bill, the 2018 Metro Fare Evasion, cited a recent report by the Washington Committee on Civil Rights and Urban Affairs that, between January 2016 and February 2018, 91% of citations and Metro Transit's subpoenas were addressed to African Americans. The report revealed that the suppression of tariff evasion had increased in recent years and that the places where it was most prevalent – such as the stations Gallery Place and Anacostia – served a high proportion of African-Americans , indicating a maintenance of the targeted order. Metro argues that these are simply busier and more criminal areas, requiring stricter enforcement. The report revealed that the police had arrested black children as early as the age of 7 to skip the price. At the same time, the data cited by council members showed that arrests, citations and warnings related to tariff evasion had increased in recent years, from 4,000 in 2013 to 15,000 in 2017. The The crackdown coincided with severe income deficits that forced Metro to invest in fixed assets to finance its operating budget. Metro's council cited revenue as a key reason for avoiding tariff evasion in a letter to the Security Council to oppose the measure last week. "With the current enforcement measures in place, Metro loses about $ 25 million a year simply because of tariff evasion on Metrobus, 80% of the loss in the district," writes the council, adding that millions of dollars others are lost on Metrorail. are more difficult to chew. "Bearing this in mind, we believe that the financial implications of this action have not been fully taken into account." Decriminalization could be an expensive proposition for the transit agency, argued the board. "The Commission is interested to know how the Commission proposes to offset Metro's anticipated additional tens of millions of dollars in fiscal year2020 without shifting the burden of subsidy increases to jurisdictions outside of the District of Columbia. " [Here’s why some lawmakers are pushing back against fare evasion crackdowns] Metro also argued that the decriminalization of tariff evasion could lead to an increase in crime. The transit agency argues in essence that an increased application of tariff evasion has resulted in a reduction in the number of more serious offenses, due to the presence of the police and the proportion tariff evasion that prevents police officers from being taken to more serious offenders. For example, the Commission argued that, while 8% of tariff evasion cases resulted in an arrest, most of these arrests resulted not from the initial charge of tariff evasion, but from existing warrants for other offenses, an additional crime such as the assault of a police officer, or failure to identify. The commission also sought and obtained insurance from the Metro Transit police "that it would not make any arrests for mere tariff evasion, where no other factor is present", a- he declared. The activists argued, however, that the police argument was a wrong line of thinking. "#WMATA insists that keeping the tariff evasion of a crime will prevent more serious crimes," tweeted the SDC chapter of Black Lives Matter, sharing a link to a Frontline report. "That's the essence of broken windows monitoring," and here's why it does not work. The groups, which also included the American Civil Liberties Union, claimed that "Broken Windows" was based on the argument that reducing serious crime has, instead, resulted in a disproportionately criminalized population that is not disproportionately criminalized. failed to increase overall security. With the relocation of the Council, the bill will be sent to the office of Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) for signature. It would come into force in 2019 ..