Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is worried that there might be a crime wave coming after he released what amounts to 25% of inmates over the coronavirus concerns.
Villanueva expressed his concerns in an interview with FOX 11 on Monday.
"We were faced with a choice, if we left the jail system fully populated and overpopulated then the pandemic is a lot easier to sweep through the jail system and jeopardize everyone's safety," Villanueva explained.
He said that he released 4,276 nonviolent inmates.
"We have approximately 1,200 murder suspects currently in jail, that's greater than the entire population of some jail systems," Villanueva added.
While crime statistics are down all over the state, Villanueva is afraid that releasing thousands of criminals might lead to greater crime.
"We just have to be hyper-vigilant because that pendulum can eventually swing in the opposite direction," he said.
Only 11 of the 17,000 inmates in the Los Angeles County correctional system have contracted the coronavirus.
Cramped jails in many municipalities have become breeding grounds for coronavirus outbreaks, leading local officials to call for inmate releases to alleviate the problem.
Villanueva was previously criticized for shutting down gun shops in Los Angeles County over the coronavirus pandemic.
Here's more about the coronavirus in Los Angeles:
LA County's Coronavirus Deaths Crosses 300-Mark; Mortality Rate Above 3 Percent www.youtube.com