Skip to Content

Newly Installed Cameras Put a Stop to Cargo Train Thefts in Northeast L.A.

11:28 AM PDT on March 14, 2022

photo: Fernando Reyes/Unsplash

Back in November, we sounded our horns over reports that thieves in Northeast L.A. were targeting Union Pacific freight trains, stealing packages en route to the people who had ordered them and leaving a massive wake of shredded cardboard and paper in their wake. The news compounded the headaches of corporations and consumers already incurred by widespread global shipping delays.

The situation seemed to worsen still by January when a right-wing personality began filming his adventures around the tracks, COVID tests were taken, and an outcry sounded through local and national media. Then ace reporter Mike Ade dropped the revelation on L.A. TACO that Union Pacific had laid off a number of its own police force before the rash of thefts, interrupting the company's vocal complaints about progressive Los Angeles prosecutor George Gascon being the cause of the robberies.

Now Union Pacific appears to be announcing a victory in thwarting further thefts. Not by rehiring the security it laid off, but by automating their jobs. NBC reports that the thefts "have stopped overnight" and the tracks appear significantly clear of debris, thanks to the implementation of cameras from the GardaWorld-owned ECAM Secure, a four-BILLION dollar surveillance company gleefully replacing human security with robotic eyes.

The cameras were apparently installed last week, though the company would reportedly not admit to the news station that it had a contract with Union Pacific. The streaming video is viewed by actual humans at a command center in Long Beach, with Artificial Intelligence highlighting the movement of other actual humans on the tracks, highlighting suspicious or unauthorized persons and vehicles in restricted areas. At which point, a loudspeaker tells the violator they've been spotted and are being recorded while recommending they get the fuck out of there.

The cameras are said to be working, with crime quickly reduced on the tracks.

Much as Union Pacific was able to use the thefts to criticize the county prosecutor, it's hardly outside the realm of imagination that this supposed "cure-all" of vigilant security cameras could be used to justify their implementation elsewhere in the city, especially where crime may be visibly higher. It has already been reported that businesses and residents of the Melrose area have chipped in together to buy license plate recognition cameras in an attempt to police their neighborhood.

Garda Security Company certainly looks like one of those companies that look to benefit from an increasingly unstable world. Most recognizable perhaps for its empire of armored cars emblazoned with the company name, the Canada-based corporation claims to employ over 122,000 security professionals in 45 countries, serving governments, humanitarian groups, and businesses alike through a medley of protection, cash, and aviation screening services.

On its website, it trumpets praise from clients including energy company ABB Libya, the Bank of Montreal, and the American Red Cross.

Its aggressive acquisition strategy has come under some criticism, with allegations that it is frequent cutting of corners has ledto dangerous driving that resulted in several deadly accidents nationwide, leading to 19 deaths between 2008-2020. The company's name was in the headlines again last August, after it failed in its attempt to evacuate 125 employees who worked as guards at the UK's Embassy in Kabul, while successfully evacuating 100 guards working for the U.S. Embassy there under a separate contract.

Already a user?Log in

Thanks for reading!

Register to continue

Become a Member

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from L.A. TACO

Spot Check! Caviar Cakes, Champurrado Pot de Creme, Tamal Ice Cream, and Free Elote From Becky G

You can also party with L.A.'s first Black women-owned dispensary, enjoy a Lebanese legend past midnight, and pair quesabirrias with funnel cakes.

September 29, 2023

The Seven Best Tacos Along Metro’s K Line, From Crenshaw to Inglewood

The K Line is Metro's newest light rail line that cruises through the heart of Black Los Angeles, from Nipsey Square to Leimert Park. The taco scene along this route is all about hustle, featuring some of the cities must under-the-radar community gems like a historic L.A. taquería with a killer red salsa, lightly crunchy "enchilada tacos," and so much more. Next stop: flavor.

September 29, 2023

Is Hollywood’s Walk of Fame The World’s Worst Tourist Attraction?

A local news station scanned Google, TikTok, and other online reviews to cherry-pick a handful that calls the Boulevard "grubby, slightly scary... dirty, unsafe" and "one of the worst tourist attractions on the planet." We weighed in on the subject.

September 28, 2023

The Eight Best Punk Bars and Venues in Los Angeles

This may be the last generation of beautifully grimy punk bars and venues in a city that is overdeveloping all of these counterculture community spaces into the post-gentrification abyss. Go and support by buying drinks at all these places to make sure they stick around for the next generation.

September 27, 2023

L.A.’s Best Secret Ecuadorian Restaurant Opens Weekends Only at This Wilshire Blvd. Cafe

On weekends,Cafe Fresco transforms into one of the rare places in the city to find seco de chivo, llapingachao, guatita, and other regional Ecuadorian eats.

September 26, 2023
See all posts