Union Pacific, one of the nation’s largest railroads, said it may avoid operating in Los Angeles County following the surge in thefts, which he blames it on the lax prosecution of crimes. Containers and trains are locked, but can be broken into.
Union Pacific said in a letter to the Los Angeles District Attorney last month that it had seen a 160% year-over-year increase. in robbery in LA county. The company says a December 2020 special directive issued by District Attorney George Gascón that changed the way low-level offenses are prosecuted contributed to the spike.
Union Pacific said in its letter that in the last three months of the year it had made more than 100 arrests of “active criminals vandalizing our trains” in partnership with the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Department of Angeles Sherriff. But Union Pacific, which has its own police department with jurisdiction over the 32,000 miles of track it owns, said that while it has expanded its security resources and partnered more closely with law enforcement local, the problem does not go away. After being arrested, individuals are released within 24 hours, he added.
Crime is associated with an increase in poverty, which has increased during the pandemic. The county’s directive was intended to address social ills resulting from misdemeanor convictions, such as difficulties with employment, housing, education, government benefits and immigration.
“Studies show that prosecuting the offenses that drive the bulk of misdemeanor cases have minimal, if not negative, long-term impacts on public safety,” Gascón said when the directive was released. (His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)
“While we understand the policy’s well-intended social justice goals, we need our justice system to support our efforts to partner with local law enforcement, hold these criminals accountable and, most importantly, help to protect our employees and the critical local and national railroad network,” Guerrero said.
The Association of American Railroads expressed concern about the increase in crime.
“In coordination with local law and, if necessary, federal law enforcement partners, the industry is committed to pursuing all avenues necessary to combat this criminal behavior,” the spokesperson said. Ted Greener in a statement.