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The MTA needs to take action against subway predators right away

The MTA has waited too long to start permanently banning dangerous recidivists from the subway and bus system.

The agency has a responsibility to keep its passengers safe not only by keeping the tracks and trains in working order, but by keeping criminals and perverts out of the system.

Thieves, sexual assailants and harassers with dozens of arrests under their belts are allowed to roam the system and continue to prey on riders while the MTA sits on its thumbs.

I spent my years on the MTA board sounding the call, encouraging the agency to issue the trespass notices and work with district attorneys’ offices to make bans part of offenders’ plea bargains.

It fell on deaf ears.

It was not a priority for former Chairman Tom Prendergast, and while Joe Lhota was more interested, he was too caught up in triaging the system to focus on keeping the bad apples out. And Freddy Ferrer is just a placeholder who is counting his days before Gov. Cuomo names a replacement and he can get his life back, so he’s not going to work on it.

It would take effort and recourses on the part of the MTA. It would have to dedicate personnel to work with transit police and prosecutors. But if it means investing a little bit of resources to keep these creeps out of the system, it is worth it.

The criminals have an incentive to take a plea deal instead of taking their cases to court.

Say you’ve got some thief or pervert who wants to take a plea deal to avoid harsher consequences. There’s no reason that bans from the system can’t be part of those punishments. They do not have a constitutional right to ride the subway.

Without the MTA’s input, too many criminals cycle through the system with little penalty and no ban, allowing them to keep coming onto subway property to victimize even more women.

We know who these people are. We need to keep them out, track them and make this all very real to the people prosecuting them.

Until the MTA does that, the fault lies with them.

It has long been a frustration of mine that the MTA hasn’t acted on this. It is a necessary part of running a safe and reliable transit system.

If MTA officials don’t believe the agency has the right to permanently ban the criminals and perverts from the system, they should go to the state legislature and request that it be codified into law.

The rights of the riders and preventing more people from becoming victims are too important to ignore.

Allen Cappelli is an attorney and former MTA board member.

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