Safety, Subways and the Streets

DTLA--On Sunday, April 14, I did a double take when I saw a Google Alert about a police shooting involving a man with a shotgun at the 7th Street/Metro Center station.

I’m 100% transit dependent. I don’t own a car and have no desire to get one. Thankfully, the worst I’ve seen anyone carry around on the street (and this was in University Park some years ago) was a bat, and he wasn’t smiling as if he was about to play baseball. I’m not so naive to think there aren’t registered and un-registered gun owners Downtown. I’m sure people are standing their ground in one fashion or another, but it’s in the shadows from my purview.

Kimberly Briggs on Downtown Living

On that day I rode the train to the Westlake/Macarthur Park station and back to the Historic Core. Being Palm Sunday, there was a sleepy, pleasant vibe in the station. Imagine out of nowhere having to run for your life underground where there’s really nowhere to run or hide and nary a police officer in sight.

The Sunday situation ended in tragic fashion. When police responded, the man with the shotgun ran out of the station onto the streets of Downtown. Police opened fire and the man was shot and killed.

Riding buses and trains regularly, you see a lot of things and you do a lot of things to tolerate the unsavory parts of transit. My threshold is pretty high and I can deal with a lot of things, but seeing an armed person on a train would send everyone amok.

Officers are rarely seen at the stations. When they are, it seems to be in a fare-checking capacity only. I believe the department has taken a step back from enforcing “broken windows” type violations and for good measure. But that doesn’t mean police should just vanish from the stations altogether. Perhaps officers really are there in plain clothes around the clock and I’m misinformed — I’m unsure.

So what do you do when anything could happen anywhere and at any time? The LAPD and Metro are fully capable of addressing that. I’m sure transit riders would appreciate some blessed assurance in the meantime.

Kimberly Briggs is a Downtown resident.

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