The debate continues regarding how to protect riders of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority system.
The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday approved a six-month extension for the Los Angeles Police Department to patrol Metro buses and train stations, a contract worth tens of millions of dollars.
The vote was 10-2, but it came after a heated debate.
“Despite the millions being spent year over year, a plan for safety on transit has yet to be developed, and there has not been any analysis done that showcases how our current system does in fact make transit safer,” said Councilmember Eunisses Hernandez, 1st District.
Councilmember Traci Park, 11th District, said the “trend we are seeing on Metro is outright horrifying,” adding that violent crime is up 24% over last year.
“What we are voting on is keeping LAPD on our transit systems so there is some law enforcement presence that can respond in real time to very serious incidents as they occur,” Park said.
Metro’s safety officers released a report showing an alarming rise in crime on the Metro system.
Complaints of drug use and drug sales have nearly doubled since last year, and more people have died on Metro so far this year than all of last year.
Many of those deaths were due to drug overdoses.
Female ridership has also dropped significantly, partly due to sexual harassment and the threat of sexual assault.
And that’s just Metro’s riders. The employees face threats of their own, including about 14 assaults on bus operators in each month of 2022.
While the LAPD will remain for now, proposed alternatives include social workers, unarmed ambassadors and elevator attendants.