Attack on Metro Bus Again Raises Transit Safety Concerns

Los Angeles Metro bus line 106 (Local Orange Livery) running at Downtown Los Angeles

Photo: Laser1987 / iStock Editorial / Getty Images

ENCINO (CNS) - A person was robbed and assaulted aboard a Metro bus in the Encino area and a suspect was taken into custody, marking the third attack tied to the transit system within 24 hours and again raising concerns Wednesday about safety on buses and trains.

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, officers responded around 2:05 p.m. Tuesday to the reported attack near the intersection of Ventura Boulevard and Balboa Avenue.

Metro officials said in a statement a man on the bus "was robbed of a cell phone and was hit in the chest by another man while on board the bus." The suspect was arrested as he was walking away from the bus.

"The victim did not require medical assistance and was not transported to any hospital facility," according to Metro.

At about 7:05 p.m. Monday, a fight erupted on a Metro bus near West Los Feliz Road and South Central Avenue in Glendale. In that instance, according to Metro, the bus driver stopped the vehicle and four males exited and the fight continued on the street, leading to two of the four people being stabbed.

The two wounded people were taken to hospitals with non-life- threatening injuries, and the other two people involved were arrested, according to Metro.

Several media reports indicated that the altercation began when three juvenile suspects tried to steal a backpack from a teenage boy.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department was handling the investigation of the stabbing, according to the Glendale police. Anyone with information was asked to call the sheriff's Transit Services Bureau at 323-563- 5000.

About two hours after that altercation, a woman was stabbed at the Metro C (Green) Line Vermont/Athens station at South Vermont Avenue and the Glenn Anderson (105) Freeway. The victim was taken to a hospital in unknown condition, and the suspect -- a man wearing all black -- got away by boarding a westbound train toward Hawthorne, authorities said.

The attacks are the latest incidents of violence plaguing the Metro transit system. The spate of violence included the fatal stabbing of a woman aboard a train in the Studio City area last month and a series of attacks targeting bus drivers -- prompting some of them to stage a "sick out" last month to demand more security.

Metro's Board of Directors on April 29 approved an emergency procurement declaration to speed up acquisition and installation of protective barriers for drivers on about 2,000 buses due to the "sudden, unexpected increased severity of assaults on operators."

The board also pushed for a review of other potential safety improvements, including an examination of measures such as securing all transit station entrances and exits, increasing security cameras on the system and making use of facial recognition technology.

Responding the spate of attacks, Clara Karger of Mayor Karen Bass' office said in a statement: "The recent increase in crime and violence toward riders and operators on the system is absolutely unacceptable. Mayor Bass is working with other members of the Metro Board of Directors to take decisive action to make Metro safer for riders, operators and community members."

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