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Mayor Bass Declares Metro Unsafe Due to Increasing Violence

Elgin Nelson

In a notable shift, Mayor Bass acknowledged that she no longer believes the city’s Metro system is safe after Los Angeles public transit users were confronted with a rampant surge in violent incidents prompting city officials to develop a plan to reduce crime on subways and buses.

In recent weeks, passengers, drivers, and people at Metro stations have been robbed, stabbed, and shot, with some incidents resulting in fatalities.

“I’ve seen purse snatching, I’ve seen people being pushed over,” one metro rider, said. The ongoing violence intensified calls for immediate intervention from passengers.

“There is a spike. We will aggressively address that,” said Mayor Karen Bass. As chair of the Metro (board), I am right now working with my colleagues — the other members of the board of directors — on a motion that we’ll put forward at the next meeting, which is next week, that will be calling for an increase of patrols, increased visibility, on the buses and the trains.”

LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said she is working with the LAPD, the Sheriff’s Department, and Long Beach Police on a plan for increased enforcement. The agencies also confirmed their involvement.

The data indicates that most incidents are carried out by fare evaders. Of the 153 violent crimes on Metro from May 2023 to April 2024, 143, or over 93%, were committed by individuals who avoided paying a fare.

Although officials still need to detail their crime-fighting measures, stronger fare enforcement might be considered. Further insights are expected when Mayor Karen Bass addresses the Metro Board of Directors.

The proposed measures are set to be voted on at the next Metro Board of Directors meeting. Her remarks reflect growing concerns among commuters following several violent incidents, including three attacks within 48 hours. Here is a timeline of the most recent violent incidents that occurred at various Metro stops:

  • April 17, a man kicked in the door of a Metro bus in Santa Monica and attacked the driver. On April 22, Mirna Arauz, 67, was fatally stabbed in the throat by a man on a Metro train in Studio City; the suspect was charged with murder.
  • April 26, an argument on a South LA Metro bus led to a stabbing after passengers were ordered to disembark; the suspect was arrested and the victim was hospitalized.
  • May 13, two incidents occurred: A woman was stabbed inside an elevator at the Green Line Metro station near South Vermont Avenue in South LA and was hospitalized in stable condition while the suspect remained at large. Also, an altercation on a Metro bus in Glendale led to two people being stabbed and two others being arrested after being ordered off.
  • May 14, a homeless man attacked another rider with a wrench aboard a Metro bus in Encino, resulting in the suspect’s arrest and non-hospitalized injuries for the victim.
  • May 16, a rider on a Metro bus in Commerce was shot dead by a man with a handgun; the victim was later identified as Juan Luis Gomez-Ramirez, and the suspect was charged with murder.
  • May 21, deputies responded to a stabbing on a Metro bus in Lynwood, where the victim was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, and another person was detained.
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