By C. U. Powers
Sheriff says over 3000 inmates are in quarantine and most violent crime is down as a second wave of the virus sweeps LA County
On Wednesday Nov. 25th Sheriff Alex Villanueva went live on Facebook to give residents in Los Angeles County current statistics and updates on issues within the county and sheriff’s department.
Villanueva started off with crime statistics stating that although violent crime is down 0.71%, criminal homicide is up 29% and aggravated assault is up 10.39%.
“That is of concern. Grand theft auto is up twenty-six percent and arson up eleven percent but overall part one crimes, which are all the serious crimes combined, are down 2.42%, not bad”, says the sheriff.
He went on to mention that the rising trend of homicides and assaults are troubling and deputies are pulling more firearms off the street at an alarming rate. Later in the live stream he addressed a comment about adding more detectives to the force since Los Angeles has reached 300 murders this year, a number they haven’t seen since 2009.
“We’d love to but we’re going through a defunding situation right now…”, Villanueva said.
According to him the 300 murders is a number the City of Los Angeles put in their statistics but the total for the LASD and their jurisdictions is at 172.
The sheriff also shared Covid-19 updates with the department stating that, “we have currently quarantined 1,011 of our personnel. 671 sworn and 340 professional staff”. That makes up for over five percent of all the department’s employees. Since the beginning of the pandemic 1,194 LASD personnel have tested positive for the virus with one sworn deputy and four professional staff currently hospitalized. Out of all this, only one person has died due to the pandemic within the department and they were already on long term leave prior for other health conditions. Next he moved on to Covid updates within the county jail system.
Villanueva started off by mentioning that the total jail population was at 15,281 in which he says is a big jump from 11,700 earlier this year. The main reason for this is 2,947 inmates are awaiting transfer to state prison, he says.
“It’s a double problem because these are people that cannot be released any other way, they have to go to state prison and they’re contributing to the densely populated jails…”
Total number of inmates testing positive for Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic has hit 3,533 while 1,292 of which are asymptomatic.
“We have approximately 3,000 in quarantine and that is remarkable”.
44 inmates are currently positive with the virus and 75% of them are showing symptoms of Covid-19. With all this begin said, six inmates have died in total due to the pandemic through a circulation of over 75,000 people going in and out of the county jail system. Later on in the chat residents asked if the “$0 Bail Initiative” had contributed to the numbers of Covid with the jail. Villanueva said that it was too early to tell and reminded viewers that inmates with misdemeanors and nonviolent crimes that are serving under six months in jail are doing ten percent of the time. Ten percent of six months comes out to around eighteen days, and in most cases, inmates will spend less time in jail then that.
Questions then started to come in and one person asked about recruitment. Apparently the LASD has over 400 new applicants who have completed background checks and are awaiting classes which may or may not start in February or March. He went on to add that next year the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department will be raising the education requirement for recruitment from a highschool diploma to an associates degree or 60 units at a four year institution and December 2020 is the last you can apply without the new requirement.
He was then asked if any jails would be permanently closing soon. The sheriff said that a south facility that is holding 700 inmates may be on the chopping block but he’s working with the LA Board of Supervisors to keep it open and has presented a plan to the board to do so. Villenueva warns that the sheriff’s department cannot suffer anymore defunding and if it continues they will have to pull money from other law enforcement activities like patrolling communities, detective work, and jail operations.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva commented on a few other issues like running for office again and his trouble with the LA Board of Directors before ending the live stream with remarks in Spanish. He stated that he will be running for sheriff again and when it comes to any opposition he faces with politicians it’s all about communication while they are in office but it’s up to the people to hold them accountable.
For more information on the LASD daily activities and protocol go to http://www.lasd.org/transparency