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Is LA Public Transit Safe? (And Other Headlines)

An orange Los Angeles Metro bus drives along a street.
(Courtesy LA Metro)
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On a daily basis, thousands of people in Los Angeles County board a bus or a train to get to work or school. According to L.A. Metro, there are 800,000 boardings daily on a fleet of 2,2000 buses and seven rail lines.

Safety on the LA Metro

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Angelenos have an expectation that all they have to do is pay and enjoy the ride from point A to point B. The majority of time, people are able to get to their destinations safely without issue, but some recent violent incidents have raised questions about the safety of L.A.’s public transit.

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On Wednesday this week, a Metro bus driver was stabbed by a passenger in Woodland Hills after an argument. There was another stabbing on the A Line in Long Beach in April that resulted in the victim’s death. Also on the A line, a woman reported being punched in the face repeatedly.

These latest attacks have people like L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn, asking why there aren’t more police officers present. But other officials question whether the metro is truly unsafe or if there is just a perception of “insecurity.”

My colleague Jill Replogle dug into the data and found that the number of crimes across the transit system was up 21% in February of this year compared to the previous year. But Metro spokesman Dave Sotero said that while there is “no tolerance for” any crime on the transit systems, the number of incidents is relatively small compared to the number of people who ride the bus and train every day.

Still, he said, steps are being taken to try to make people feel safer while riding public transit, including deploying unarmed "transit ambassadors" to monitor busses and trains. For more on those moves, you can read Jill’s story here.

Correction: an earlier version of this newsletter misstated the most-recent increases in Metro rail and bus crime. LAist regrets the error. You can find the correct information on our website.

There’s more news below — just keep reading.

We’re here to help curious Angelenos connect with others, discover the new, navigate the confusing, and even drive some change along the way.

More News

(After you stop hitting snooze)

  • To ease staffing shortages, officers in the Los Angeles County Probation Department are being told to work one shift a month in juvenile halls
  • Did you know there are health risks when it comes to living with mold? That’s why you have to nip that mold problem in the bud right away. But don’t worry C.C. Clark has an updated guide on how to do that. 
  • Jasmyne Pope was hired to be a substitute music teacher for a couple of weeks at Dorsey High School in 2021. But, then she noticed a problem: there were no functioning instruments for students to play. Read Ryanne Mena’s story about how this teacher revived Dorsey’s dying music program. 
  • Wildfires have increased and grown more dangerous in recent years and it’s impacting our health. The U.S. Government Accountability Office, a federal watchdog agency, concluded that the Environmental Protection Agency needs to better track the effects and that a loophole allows regulators to not count “natural” fires toward clean air goals.
  • Cedars-Sinai Health System in L.A. received a nearly $28 million grant, but it takes money away from hospitals with a financial need that have more Medi-Cal patients. KFF Health News’ Samantha Young and Angela Hart reported on how even hospitals that have been profitable are seeking to get lawmakers to give them a bailout. 
  • Need a pick-me-up to end this gloomy, dark week? Meet our new furry feline friends P-113, 114, and P-115. These mountain lion kittens were just found in the Simi Hills of Thousand Oaks by National Park Service biologists. 
  • Happy Memorial Day Weekend, friend. View the late pop artist Keith Haring’s Art Is For Everybody exhibit at The Broad now through October. If you’re a Shakespeare stan like me, jam out to the Radiohead + Hamlet: Perchance to Dream experimental concert at The Pico Union Project on Saturday night. Take a pit stop at the gf Japanese Car Cruise In at The Petersen Automotive Museum on Sunday. Check out these events and more here.
  • Casa Romantica in San Clemente is now open for the long weekend after a landslide destroyed its terrace, closing it down for repairs. The gardens are still off limits but people can tour parts of the historic building. 
  • *At LAist we will always bring you the news freely, but occasionally we do include links to other publications that may be behind a paywall. Thank you for understanding! 

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Wait... One More Thing

Foraging In The City As A Person Of Color

A close up of a Black woman wearing sunglasses holds a bright pink bougainvillea flower and takes a bite.
Reporter Aaricka Washington tastes a bougainvillea leaf while reporting on a BIPOC foraging event in Silver Lake.
(Brian Feinzimer

One recent Saturday, I decided to be brave. I ate wild plants hanging off trees at the Micheltorena Heart Stairs at Silver Lake. I’m talking about kumquats, bougainvillea leaves and prickly lettuce.

I’m not going to lie, some of these things were pretty tasty. Some weren’t.

Now, of course, I didn’t (and wouldn’t) do this blindly. Jessica Lin, the founder of Beyond The Body LLC and an expert forager led me and eight others up the stairs to teach us how to find safe and healthy things to eat in nature, even in urban environments in L.A. It was an event dedicated to those who are Black, Indigenous and people of color. During this event, we learned about how to identify edible plants, what dangerous plants to avoid and how we could use the plants for medicinal or diet purposes.

For some people who attended, they wanted to learn ways to be more health conscious. Jada Taylor, a spiritual counselor and activist who is starting her own apothecary and a community garden, told me that learning how to forage could help her develop holistic alternatives to Western medicine.

“Things are available here, like you could be sitting right in front of the medicine that you need and you wouldn't know without classes or people like this,” she said. “Like I'm big on making teas and like all this stuff. So it's very important that I be able to collect and forage on my own.”

An Asian woman with a gray t-shirt, jeans, glasses, and dark green baseball cap talks to a diverse group of people in shady area surrounded by foliage and bright pink bougainvillea plant.
Participants of a BIPOC foraging event gather to explore wildlife on a set of stairs in Silver Lake.
(Brian Feinzimer

Read my story for more insight into why learning about foraging matters to people in marginalized communities.

And check out Lin’s next BIPOC Foraging Workshop in Culver City on Sunday, June 11.

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