Union Pacific has put losses, claims and damage at around $5 million for goods looted along the West Coast, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.
The railroad company said in a statement on Sunday that rail incidents in Los Angeles County, including theft, assaults, and armed robberies of employees, rose 160% in 2021.
Union Pacific spokesman Adrian Guerrero wrote in a December letter to Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón that on average, more than 90 containers were ''compromised'' each day in the last three months of the year.
Authorities in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles have been particularly aware of the looting phenomenon. Trains carrying items such as electronics and jewelry are reconfigured toward either Canada or Chicago during their brief pause in the neighborhood.
The tracks dip below street level, putting them out of sight of security cameras.
''Think of it as a tunnel but without the roof,'' Los Angeles Police Capt. German Hurtado told the Times. ''It provides cover for the thieves.''
He added that since last summer, the Hollenbeck precinct, which includes Lincoln Heights, has made more than 80 arrests at the tracks ''with almost no charges.''
Hurtado said some violent crimes were being investigated as possibly related to the theft on the tracks but that most cases were being underpursued due to a personnel shortage.
''They are really trying, but we are all understaffed,'' he said.
In response to the spike in theft, Union Pacific said it has begun using drone surveillance in Los Angeles County, according to the Times.
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