Gascón says Union Pacific does not adequately protect cargo
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A day after Governor Gavin Newsom toured a stretch of Union Pacific railroad tracks in Los Angeles littered with the remains of looted packages, Los Angeles County Attorney George Gascón said the railroad was not doing not enough to ensure that its trains were properly locked and protected.
In a letter to UP General Manager of Public Affairs Adrian Guerrero, the district attorney said the Los Angeles Police Department determined that “UP is doing little to secure or lock down the trains and drastically reduced law enforcement personnel.
It is very telling that other major rail operations in the region do not face the same level of theft at their facilities as UP.
Guerrero wrote to the prosecutor’s office last month, suggesting that Gascón’s decision to dismiss certain offenses such as trespassing led to an increase in rail container theft that cost an estimated $5 million.
According to UP statistics, container theft from trains has increased 160% from 2020 to 2021 in LA County, with more than 90 containers broken into each day on average.
Gascón said Friday that his office recently conducted a review of cases submitted for review over the past three years in which UP is listed as a victim and found that the number actually dropped in 2021.
In 2019, 78 files were presented for submission; in 2020, 56 applications were presented for submission; and in a “sharp decline,” 47 such cases involving the UP were presented for review last year, Gascón wrote, more than half of which were filed by the prosecutor’s office for prosecution.
The charges filed included both misdemeanors and misdemeanors alleging burglary, theft and receiving stolen property, the DA wrote.
“Of the 20 cases that were denied filing, 10 were not filed due to insufficient evidence presented to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt, which is our ethical standard for filing a criminal case,” according to Gascón.
“The other 10 denied cases involved offenses such as allegations of homeless people within 20 feet of train tracks and simple possession of drugs for personal use – not allegations of burglary, theft or tampering. Although homelessness is a serious problem, it is not a problem that we can solve by spending the resources of the criminal justice system.
On Thursday, Newsom, saying images of looted packages littering UP runways in Los Angeles “look like a third world country,” announced a multi-agency push to clean up the mess, along with planned state efforts to fight against the endemic theft that produced it.
“What happened on this stretch of the Union Pacific Railroad is unacceptable,” Newsom said. “We are committed to taking a whole-of-government approach to preventing thefts, prosecuting the criminals involved and cleaning up local communities.”
The governor said that in the short term, cleanup crews from Caltrans will be assisting Union Pacific workers over the next few days. Longer term, he said, the California Highway Patrol will continue its efforts to coordinate with local law enforcement to help prevent railroad thefts in Los Angeles.
Last month, Newsom offered his real public safety plan, which partly addresses the issue of rail theft.
The plan calls for bolstering local law enforcement response, supporting prosecutors and getting guns and drugs off the streets.
It also includes $255 million in grants for local law enforcement to increase their presence at outlets and fight organized crime in retail, as well as $18 million to create a dedicated state team of investigators and special prosecutors to prosecute cross-jurisdictional crimes related to theft.
In addition, it would create a permanent Smash and Grab law enforcement unit run by CHP to work with local law enforcement to quell organized theft of trains, retail businesses and automobiles throughout the country. State.
Newsom said operations that close stolen goods must be another target of increased state and local efforts — and that much of the stolen goods end up on online platforms.
“A lot of these things end up on the platforms you shopped on,” he said. “Have you ever wondered how someone makes money at this remarkably reduced price?”
While Newsom said he was not focused on who was responsible for the railroad robbery rash, preferring to focus on solutions to prevent it from happening again, some Republicans lambasted ‘criminals first’ policies for exacerbating the problem.
“Criminals know how to exploit California policies for their own gain,” Republican Senate Leader Scott Wilk of Santa Clarita said in a statement Thursday.
“The Governor’s fanciful press conferences will not deter a single crime. Californians deserve safer communities, and Republicans are eager to fight for every neighbor, retailer and employer who is fed up with the Democrats’ “criminals first” public safety agenda. »
A group of local Republican congressmen sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland asking for help from the federal government to combat the thefts that have disrupted the supply chain.
“Furthermore, it is important to note that many of these purchases are not only delivered statewide in California, but also throughout the United States, affecting interstate and international commerce,” the letter reads. “Therefore, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice play a vital role in the federal prosecution of the robbery epidemic on all cargo transportation.”
Gascón says Union Pacific does not adequately protect cargo was last modified: January 21, 2022 through
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