Sheriff Alex Villanueva promised to make regional public transport and seaside beaches more secure today by increasing patrols and enforcement amidst an increase in criminal offenses in the county’s locations.
Villanueva said the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) will be punishing homeless individuals surviving on the trains after a string of violent attacks on riders over the last 6 months.
There have to do with 5,700 homeless individuals on Los Angeles County’s trains and buses, according to a count last August by the firm that runs the system, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro).
Starting June 1, LASD will begin the “Operation Safe Travel” program on the Metro lines, where increased patrolling and enforcement will be carried out to suppress increasing attacks.
Deputies will patrol beaches from Playa del Rey to Malibu throughout the summer season months, understood as the “Beach Patrol Mission.” The officers comprise the LASD Sheriff’s Response Team and the Mounted Enforcement Detail.
“Summer is upon us and the last couple of years have been challenging for everyone,” Villanueva said May 26. “I want to remind the community that we’re doing our best, we’re stretching our resources so that people feel safe wherever they are, including the beach areas of Los Angeles County.”
The new direction comes as Angelenos are just a couple of weeks away from the June 7 primary election, where the concerns of homelessness and an increase in criminal activity are front and center.
Villanueva highlighted the value of security for tourists on the Metro lines after the current attacks on travelers.
“This is just illustrative that when you have that large of a population of homeless people on the system, bad things will happen,” Villanueva said during a news conference May 24. “You have people that are under the influence of mental issues and they’re in a place where people are vulnerable.”
In January, a lady was assaulted and murdered at a bus stop near Union Station, and a rider was pushed onto tracks by a homeless person at Willowbrook Station. In February, a homeless male was fatally injured by a train while sleeping on the tracks. And in other current months, two female travelers were sexually attacked at a train station, and another tourist was deliberately set on fire while riding the train.
“This is what happens when people are actually living on the trains,” Villanueva said. “They’re also urinating and defecating on the trains. There’s no restrooms on the trains, they will spend the entire day and night on the train. And this is problematic, and when they collide with the fare paying passengers, as we’ve already noted, it can be with deadly results.”
The Sheriff’s department divides patrol of the Metro lines with the Long Beach Police Department and the Los Angeles Police Department to suppress the increase in criminal activity.
Villanueva has actually been in a head-to-head fight with the Metro board over enforcement, as the board has actually been making an effort to discover options for policing on trains. Villanueva threatened to pull the department’s security. The board restored its agreement with the three agencies for another year up until it can develop a new plan for security.
LASD authorities stated they’ll quickly send a proposition to release 600 deputies to patrol the Metro system for $30 million less a year compared to what the firm presently invests in security.
The sheriff will likewise release the department’s Homeless Outreach and Services Team (HOST) to patrol the Metro system and link homeless individuals with services and psychological health resources if they accept them.
H/T The Epoch Times