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LA Metro cuts down crime on its bus, rail systems by 17% in past 5 years

Crime on Los Angeles Metro buses and rail networks decreased about 17% overall from 2015 to 2019. LA Metro is currently evaluating changes to its bus system to better serve the riders. (Daily Bruin file photo)

By Martín Bilbao

Feb. 18, 2020 12:42 am

Crime on the Los Angeles Metro system dropped about 17% from 2015 to 2019.

Metro released crime figures for its bus and rail systems Friday. It found that in the LA system, serious crimes such as robbery and assault fell nearly 23%, while less serious crimes fell about 11%, according to a Metro press release.

The decrease may reflect the fruits of a 2017 Metro plan to better coordinate policing efforts among multiple local law enforcement agencies, Metro security and private security.

The 2017 plan increased the perceived presence of law enforcement and deployed more officers in response to crime trends or suspicious activity, according to the press release. The plan also lowered law enforcement response time to about five minutes.

The LA Metro system, which carries about 1.2 million passengers each day, is currently looking to update its bus system for the first time in 25 years. It is also expanding its rail system, including the Purple Line Extension and the Sepulveda Transit Corridor, which will connect UCLA to Downtown LA and the San Fernando Valley, respectively.

Although crime decreased overall, some riders and nonriders reportedly feel afraid to use the system. An LA Metro report released in August found women are more fearful of using public transit than men.

James Butts, Metro board chair and Inglewood mayor, said in the press release that he applauded efforts by Metro to prioritize the safety of customers.

“The Metro system is safe, and we’re making it safer,” Butts said. “As a former law enforcement officer myself, I know that deterring crime takes a long-term commitment and focus.”

Crime decreased in major crime categories such as crimes against persons, property and society. The figures released by Metro were compiled from law enforcement agencies that monitor the system, including the LA County Sheriff’s Department, LA Police Department and Long Beach Police Department.

About four crimes occur for every 1 million rides on the Metro, according to figures released by the agency.

Phillip Washington, Metro’s CEO, said in the press release that he thinks cooperation among law enforcement agencies contributed to the decrease in reported crime.

“Our transit system is certainly not immune from some of the issues found in the rest of LA County, but we are now beginning to see the tangible benefits of our multi-agency law enforcement model,” Washington said in the release.

Aside from increased enforcement, Metro also regularly checks for explosives on the transit system as part of counterterrorism measures, according to the press release.

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Martín Bilbao
Bilbao is the Assistant News editor for City and Crime. He is a fourth-year political science student who previously worked as a News contributor for Features and Student Life.
Bilbao is the Assistant News editor for City and Crime. He is a fourth-year political science student who previously worked as a News contributor for Features and Student Life.
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