Crime on trains and buses rises as pandemic eases

Crime on trains and buses rises as pandemic eases


11/28/2021 4:17:00 PM

Crime on trains and buses rises as pandemic eases

In 2021, through September, reports of violent crimes were up 25% from the same time last year and 9% from 2019, according to L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority data. Some crimes, such as aggravated assaults, are exceeding pre-pandemic levels.

PrintAs she waited for a Metro train in Hollywood, Maritza Mancilla shielded herself behind the escalator bringing passengers down into the fluorescent lit underground.She wanted to see the newcomers before they could see her.The 55-year-old, who relies on public transportation to get to her job as a house cleaner, has seen fights break out on the train. She’s seen a man attempt to open the car doors while they were in motion. At the Hollywood/Western Metro station earlier this year, a man exposed himself to her.

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“If I could work from home, I would,” she said.AdvertisementWith the pandemic easing and lockdowns lifted, a return to normalcy has come with benefits: increased economic activity, more people going back to work and school and holiday gatherings and social interactions.

But on the Los Angeles public transit system — where ridership has rebounded to about 843,000 weekday daily riders from a pandemic low of about 363,800— normal has also brought with it a rise in crime.In 2021, through September, reports of violent crimes were up 25% from the same time last year and 9% from 2019, according to L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority data. Some crimes, such as aggravated assaults, are exceeding pre-pandemic levels even though bus and rail ridership hasn’t fully recovered.

Although still rare, homicides jumped from one in 2019, to three in 2020, the first full year of the pandemic. So far in 2021, five peoplein stations or on public transport, including a 28-year-old womanfatally shot on the train while on her way to work.

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While most people ride public transit without incident, the issue of crime recently sparked a clash between L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and Metro board members over the future of law enforcement on the system. At a news conference to argue for the extension of his department’s contract with Metro, the sheriff rattled off a list of eight violent crimes, dating back to 2019, including shootings, stabbings and sexual assaults. He referred to the incidents as “the level of carnage” happening on trains.

Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts, who sits on the Metro board of directors, said that he saw Villanueva’s compilation of violent crimes, “as a public acknowledgement that he failed to prevent these crimes.”Butts, a former Santa Monica police chief, added that given the enormous scale of the public transit system, there was no reason to try to frighten people with crime numbers.

“The press conference was a political exercise that gave statistics without perspective,” Butts said during a Metro committee meeting. “Given the millions of riders that Metro serves every year, the crime statistics compared per capita to cities are de minimis.”

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Commuters ride an escalator up to street level at the North Hollywood station on the Metro Red Line on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021 in Los Angeles, CA.(Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times)On a recent Friday morning, more than a dozen people heading to work, school or to run errands waited for their train at the Hollywood/Western station.

Maria Herrera had just gotten off an eight-hour night shift. The 55-year-old, who can’t drive, relies on her daughters and public transportation to get to work five days a week.Herrera said she stopped taking the train at night a long time ago and relies on ride share apps, which have come at a rising cost.

“Poor people are suffering the most,” said Herrera. But when it comes to crime, she said, “we’re all exposed.”“It doesn’t matter if you’re older or younger,” she said. “That’s why a lot of people don’t stop using their cars.”Security personnel walk through Union Station on Nov. 16.

(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)This year, through September, there were 470 violent crimes systemwide. In 2020, over the same time period, there were 375. In 2019, before the pandemic began, there were 432.Robberies have dropped from the last two years, to 165, but reports of homicides, rapes, aggravated assaults and aggravated assaults on operators were higher this year during the same time in 2019 and 2020.

Judy Gerhardt, Metro’s chief of system security and law enforcement, said the uptick in crime appears to be part of a larger trend across the U.S.“As our community deals with the challenges that are brought on by COVID, the increase in the unsheltered population on the system, other social factors that are happening now, we’re seeing crime rates rise — not just on the system but locally and even across the country,” Gerhardt said. “Our goal is to minimize all crimes on the system in every capacity.”

There have been five homicides this year, with the most recent coming on Nov. 21, when a man was shot in the head at theSuspects in all the killings are in custody.Danielle Harlemon, 28, was fatally shot while taking the train to work on Oct. 10.(Eddie Harlemon III)

For the family of Danielle Harlemon, her death was as unexpected as it was far from the place she once called home.The 28-year-old followed her dream to move to California from Atlanta two years ago. Her older sister said she loved the ocean.Nearly every day, Harlemon woke up before the sun rose to make it on time to the downtown L.A. marijuana dispensary where she worked as a master grower.

Her mother, Demetria, said on a few occasions she overheard her daughter being harassed at the train station during their daily calls.“I asked her, ‘Where is security? How does all of this go on on public transportation?’” Demetria, 54, recalled. “Why isn’t there someone to give you some kind of comfort?”

Harlemon wanted to start driving and was saving to buy a Jeep by Christmas.On Oct. 10, Harlemon was seated on the Metro B line train, when an agitated man began pacing nearby. He started arguing with her. When the train stopped at the Hollywood/Vine station, the man shot Harlemon and fled, police said. She died at a nearby hospital.

“It breaks me down every day that she was on her way to work,” Demetria said. “For this to happen has just put me in a state of shock.”Less than a month later, policearrested

Read more: Los Angeles Times »

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🙏🏾 Not enough can be said about the fact that they just keep spending more money doing more of the thing that every year everyone agrees did not work. Grateful to the board for pushing back on Villanueva. Finally, the rise in crime on public transit is being acknowledged. Subway cars and stations are becoming wild wild west. I’ve seen security just walking by when someone was jumping the gate. They’re never around when things get out of hand.

This is Gascon and Newsom related, not the pandemic. No pandemic assistance = more Crime. .GavinNewsom POTUS CA_Dem must restate pua ppp and other programs. Folks and their families are hurting.

California home to 3 of 10 worst Cities for retail crime as smash and grabs plague stateLos Angeles, San Francisco, and Sacramento are among the cities most highly-affected by retail crime, which could worsen this holiday season. Thanks leaders in sacramento Let's remember they refunded the police n this is what laughing kamala pelosi n newsom have done to this state. Y would u go there for vacation or live there?

Bus driver shortage hurts D.C. region’s ability to return to pre-pandemic transit service levelsThe staffing problem, a reflection of a national labor shortage, could escalate as more people resume normal routines and commutes in the new year. Totally unsafe to provide or use public transportation ever again amidst predatory spit spraying criminals giving 2 you what they got while acting erratic unsafe unhealthy spitspraying in Eyes How can you have a staffing shorting when the president states that unemployment is at it's lowest in years. Did you suddenly add hundreds of busses? Is this article fake news(a lie), or is the president lying. SOMEONE IS LYING. Do the math There is no labor shortage in America!! This is gaslighting to justify illegal immigration. Increase the wages and there will be no more shortage

How the Covid-19 Pandemic Changed Employee TrainingSay goodbye to the classroom. Companies are now figuring out how to best use technology to make sure workers learn—and retain—what they need to know. I like this. I remember having to go for training four days straight. So tedious. newsient you should check out goethena

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