Calif. Sheriff: Defund the Police Campaign Driving ‘Downright Ugly’ Crime Wave

Police reform and efforts to defund the police have created a “downright ugly” crime wave and “trifecta from hell,” according to Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva.

The sheriff said that the problems stem from a zero bail policy, jail release efforts and a Democrat district attorney unwilling to prosecute crimes. 

“They’ve been pushing this progressive reform agenda, which amounts to basically notifying the legislative intent, and then all this talk about decarceration or ‘re-imagining’ [policing] — one of their favorite terms — that means, you know, hid the kids and hold onto your wallet because that’s what re-imagining public safety looks like,” Villanueva said.

“We’re seeing it realized in real-time, and it is downright ugly. We need to turn the clock back a little bit to sensible reform measures that we can all agree with and proceed cautiously, step by step, not a wholesale, Hey! let’s just get away with all the rules and see what happens.”

In Villanueva’s jurisdiction, the crime wave has seen a 92% increase in homicides from a pre-pandemic period over two years, including a 44.39% increase in the past year and a 60% increase in grand theft auto.

“You can see that there’s major crime indicators that are moving massively; yet my board of supervisors won’t even admit that there’s a problem — as it continued trying to defund our department,” Villanueva said.

Villanueva blasts prison releases

Sheriff Villanueva blasted “legislative efforts to de-incarcerate — basically empty out the prisons, kick out the problems down to the county jails — then, the board of supervisors starving our ability to house crooks in the county jail.

“That’s part of it. Then you have a district attorney who is refusing to prosecute crime,” he said.

The sheriff said that there are more than 12,000 cases in District Attorney George Gascon’s first year in office that he has “refused to prosecute things that we have handled: arrested the bad buy, got all the evidence presented.”

Villanueva continued saying, “They said, No, we don’t want to because it’s not according to our special orders within the Gascon special orders.”

He then explained that having “zero bail” is demoralizing policing. “That one is killing us because that means their crooks get out, and the cops are still writing the report, and the guy’s already on the street committing another crime.”

Sheriff Villanueva has also been challenging vaccine mandates on his police officers but says he has already lost 1,281 employees due to board budget cuts by “defunding the police.”

According to the sheriff, his jurisdiction is now in 98% compliance with vaccine mandates. Villanueva says he still stands to possibly lose more than 1,600 employees with more than 28 years of service. 

“That would be just devastating because we would be hard-pressed to actually [field] 911 calls for service, get the radio cars out there, and operate the jails 24/7. This is basic public safety 101 stuff, but still, the board of supervisor’s doubling down in refusing knowledge that made a in refusing knowledge that made a grave error,” Villanueva warned.