The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department (LASD) is cracking down on all sorts of law-breakers along Metro rail lines, handing out hundreds of tickets and arresting approximately 150 people over the course of a few days.
LASD Sgt. Brian Godwin said this three-day push that took place last week is part of an ongoing to enforce fare rules and stop crime — such as cell phone theft — along the Blue Line.
From April 8 to April 10, deputies issued 895 citations and made 142 misdemeanor arrests and 11 felony arrests. Godwin said approximately 80 percent of the tickets issed were for fare evasion, while the rest were for spitting on the platform, being boisterous on the train or eating and drinking where you're not supposed to.
The arrests made were for a variety of reasons, ranging from possession of narcotics, to firearms or previous warrants.
The LASD focused patrols along the Blue Line and centered the operation at the Rosa Parks Transit Hub -- where the Blue and Green Lines meet. But sheriffs' say the effort benefited transit riders from Long Beach to Los Angeles, El Segundo to Norwalk.
Godwin said that although some additional officers were deployed, it was more about redistributing the ranks in a way that focused on problem areas.
According to the LASD: "Both uniformed and plainclothes teams were deployed. Additionally, deputies patrolled on horseback around the passenger stations, in surrounding neighborhoods, and businesses adjacent to the targeted passenger stations."
Cell phone theft aboard Metro trains and at transit stops also continues to be an issue. Godwin said that criminals riding the rail often target passengers who are using their smartphone and sitting near an exit. This allows them to quickly snatch the phone and flee the train as it approaches a station.
Last September, LASD Lt. Matthew Rodriguez told KPCC that more than half the reports of stolen electronic devices and jewelry aboard Metro in 2012 occurred on the Green and Blue lines.