The NYPD is continuing its crackdown on subway acrobats, with "Showtime!"-related arrests at a sixfold increase since this time last year.
According to the AP, cops have arrested over 240 subway acrobats this year, as opposed to the under-40 similar arrests last year. And though the NYPD's notably been cracking down on illegal subway vendors and panhandlers, they've been paying special attention to the somersaulting breakdancers, arresting them on charges like reckless endangerment. "Is it a significant crime? Certainly not," Police Commission William Bratton told reporters, adding, "Does it have the potential both for creating a level of fear as well as a level of risk that you want to deal with?"
It seems like the risk Bratton's referring to is less that of getting kicked in the head on the L train—a worthy fear, frankly—and more so a risk that allowing such a minor lawlessness to occur will leave room for more significant vandalism and crime to go down.
Anyone who's been forced to evade a backflipping performer on their way home from work will likely appreciate seeing fewer acrobats onboard, but performers aren't looking forward to losing their venue at the hand of the law. "We're not just knuckleheads... We're actually about something," one performer, whose 12-person dance group's gotten booked for music videos and events thanks to their work on the subway, told the AP.
It's noteworthy that while it is not legal to perform on a subway train or a bus, it is perfectly legal to perform on transit facilities. Not that that's stopped cops from harassing performers before.