Gavin Newsom on the Train Tracks

By Stan Green

Politicians Uncertain What to do as Progressive Crime Policies lead to a massive increase in LA crime.

It became clear a week ago that organized thieves were stealing boxes directly off of Southern Pacific trains leaving the terminals in LA Harbor.

The thefts have left rails littered with debris from packages and merchandise that was meant to arrive at warehouse facilities around the U.S.

On Saturday afternoon, multiple cars of a Union Pacific train derailed in a Lincoln Heights area where packages were left covering the tracks. While the cause of the derailment remains under investigation, the incident brought more attention to the littered rails.

The railroad mobilized “an aggressive response” to the thefts, with more officers assigned to commonly targeted spots and drones surveilling the tracks, Union Pacific said.

Conservatives draw a causal relationship between reforms like Proposition 47, which reduced property crime penalties, and organized theft. Newsom has said patrols need to be increased on the trains. The railroad companies say that their private security force of over 100 men, has arrested dozens of thieves every week over the past three months. They turn them over to police, where they are immediately released and charged with nothing.

Rail thefts have spiked in L.A. County, with thieves climbing aboard cargo trains, breaking into containers and stealing packages, a Union Pacific spokesman said. UP has seen rail thefts increase by 160% in Los Angeles county in 2021. It’s been more of a problem during the past three months — including through the busy holiday season — when more than 90 containers were compromised on average every single day, the company said.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom visited the train tracks strewn with garbage, for a photo op on Thursday. He used the word “Gang” to describe the organized theft. He then immediately apologized for using a “loaded word” like gang.

Newsom said that “we look like a third world country,” then immediately apologized for comparing California with a third world county.

“I’m asking myself, what the hell is going on? We look like a third-world country,” Newsom said — immediately prompting incredulous rejoinders from Republican officials and conservative critics, who will surely disagree with the governor’s assertion that nobody “particularly cares about who to blame.” Both Newsom’s possible gubernatorial opponent, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, and the Assembly Republican Caucus advised Newsom to “look in the mirror.” We’re guessing the “third-world country” line may surface in a GOP campaign ad or ten, though it wasn’t just Republican partisans who noted Newsom’s word choice.

“I see what you see,” Newsom said, of the “images that are on the nightly news day in and day out, some networks weaponizing them for their own political agenda.” He returned to that theme later: “My frustration with this in particular is the images,” Newsom added, “look like a third-world country.”

Spikes in shootings and violent crimes in LA such as assault and homicides are well established and arguably a more immediate public safety issue than property crimes.


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