Deadly Metro attack in Hawthorne puts spotlight back on public transit safety

Eric Resendiz Image
Friday, August 4, 2023
Latest Metro attack puts spotlight back on public transit safety in LA
The latest violent crime on the Metro system is again putting the spotlight on public transit safety in Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The latest violent crime on the Metro system is again putting the spotlight on public transit safety in Los Angeles.

A fatal stabbing and shooting on the C Line in Hawthorne Wednesday night comes on the heels of officials encouraging Taylor Swift fans to ride the Metro to her SoFi Stadium concerts, which kick off Thursday night in Inglewood.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department sought Thursday to reassure Swift fans that the crime was an "isolated incident" and security will be tight on the train system.

"The (sheriff's) department, in coordination with LA Metro and the Los Angeles Police Department, will be providing additional law enforcement staffing throughout the Metro system to support the Taylor Swift concert series at SoFi Stadium," according to an LASD statement. "The department is providing a similar level of visibility as the 2022 Super Bowl in order to ensure the safety of the public throughout the Metro system."

The C Line is a part of Metro's plan to encourage Swift fans to use public transportation to head to SoFi Stadium for the Eras Tour.

"In response to last night, what we've done is to add more security, or more law enforcement to that line, the C Line, also known as the Green Line," Metro spokesperson Patrick Chandler said. "But overall, for quite some time we have made sure that our law enforcement officers are more visible."

Metro shared a music video on their Instagram they previously made with Taylor Swift. The message is to remind passengers that Metro Ambassadors are out and about at stations.

Metro's plan for the Eras Tour includes expanding services, saying trains will run more frequently and service will be extended to 2 a.m. Free shuttles from two Metro stops to SoFi will be provided.

When it comes to safety additions, Metro is also expanding.

"There's also private security. We have private security guards out there," Chandler said. "They're essentially there to observe and report. So we have more eyes on the system."

Data shows aggravated assaults reported by Metro are up 72% in January through May of 2023 compared to the same time period in 2019, pre-pandemic.

But overall, total part one crimes are down slightly, by about 5%. This includes all major crime: aggravated assault, rape, homicide, robbery, burglary, theft, auto theft and arson.

Metro reported 628 part one crimes January through May. In that same period, ridership totaled nearly 114 million.