George Gascon, Los Angeles District Attorney, recently responded to Union Pacific’s (UP), concerns about train burglaries in Lincoln Heights. Adrian Guerrero (UP’s California state director of public affairs) wrote a letter to the District Attorney in December 2021 pointing out the rise in retail theft crimes in Los Angeles County in the past year and asking for help in addressing the problem on UP railroads. UP claims that it has seen a 160% rise in rail crime in Los Angeles County in the last year.
UP urged Gascon to “reconsider” Special Directive 20-7, which allows misdemeanor cases to decline or be dismissed before arraignment unless “factors of considerations” exist.
Gascon stated that 10 of 20 cases were rejected because there was not enough evidence to support the case beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the ethical standard for filing a criminal case.
Questions were raised about the actions of officials to combat rail theft, and the impact these thefts have on an already stressed U.S. supply chain. Numerous members of Congress wrote to Attorney General Merrick Garland, asking for assistance in the investigation.
Gascon stated in his letter that UP “according to LAPD Deputy chief Al Labrada, UP doesn’t secure or lock trains and has significantly reduced law enforcement staffing.” It is quite telling that other major railroad operations in this area do not face the same level or theft at their facilities like UP.
According to its website, UP employs approximately 1,600 people in Los Angeles County. It also has its own police department that is responsible for investigating railroad crimes.