In the wake of a recent crime spike, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted to increase funding by $36 million.
According to a report in Fox News, the move will increase funding from $645,675,758 to $681,675,758, which is $75 million less than the originally proposed amount of $111 million that was amended by the MTA board. The deal establishes contracts with the LAPD, the LA County Sheriff’s Department and the Long Beach Police Department.
It’s clear that law enforcement and city officials are trying to strike a balance between the push for defunding the police and managing increases in crime.
“Our hope is that the public and the board understand that we’re trying as a staff to get to a good balance here in terms of policing on our system, trying to get to a happy medium here understanding both perspectives,” LA Metro CEO Phillip Washington said before the vote.
After the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests calling to defund the police, LA city officials voted to cut $150 million from the LAPD’s nearly $2 billion dollar budget, reducing the number of LAPD’s officers by nearly 200.
LA County Metro’s decision to push back on this by increasing funding is a response to an increase in city-wide crime.
Los Angeles has seen a 34% increase in homicides over the same time last year according to nonprofit news outlet Crosstown. The violent trend seems to be a carry-over from 2020, which saw a 36% increase in homicides compared to 2019.
In keeping with the “reallocation” narrative, Mayor Eric Garcetti amended the motion to instruct the CEO of LA County Metro to include a $40 million dollar increase in their 2022-fiscal year budget for investments into alternatives to policing, such as transit ambassadors, elevator attendants, and a dispatch system to respond to homeless outreach workers and mental health specialists.
Activists, including the Labor Community/Strategy Center and Bus Riders Union opposed the partial increase altogether, rejecting all increases in funding to law enforcement, and demanding a free transit system as well as an elimination of half of the police budget. They also asked for an end to ticketing people for evading fares, according to CBS LA.
In addition, the Alliance for Community Transit Los Angeles (ACT-LA) released a report calling for Metro to end its law enforcement contracts. The report, which Garcetti deemed “very impressive,” proposes that Metro create community-based systems of safety that prioritize vulnerable community members and overall “public health.”