On Thursday, Los Angeles Metro officials reiterated their request for passengers to report any sexual harassment they experience on trains and buses.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority launched its “It’s Off Limits” campaign in April, calling for riders to report sexual harassment by calling hotline or using the Transit Watch smartphone app. The campaign was prompted by a survey of roughly 23,000 Metro riders that found 22% of them had experienced sexual harassment while using Metro.
After “It’s Off Limits” was implemented, Metro conducted another survey, releasing data in August showing the number of riders experiencing sexual harassment had dropped to 19%.
Metro spokesman Paul Gonzalez told KPCC, “We’re asking people to speak up, because speaking up is what’s really going to make a difference. If this crime of sexual harassment is left unreported, then it’s hard to do anything about it.”
KPCC reported that a 2014 survey by the L.A. Sheriff’s Department showed 99 reports of sexual harassment on the Metro system, as opposed to the roughly 4,000 people making the claim in the August survey. Roughly 15% of riders complained of another rider making sexual comments; some respondents reported unwanted touching or indecent exposure.
Gonzalez stated, “If people make a report, if they speak up, then we can go to our video and find the incident and find a picture of the person. And then look for that person. And if we have a photograph and a complaint, then we can arrest the harasser.”