Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva vowed Wednesday to expand concealed carry permits amid skyrocketing crime after revealing a staggering 95 percent increase in homicides in 2021 when compared to the same period last year.
During an Instagram Live video, Villanueva exposed the latest homicide statistics and said the department would increase the number of concealed carry permits issued so that citizens are able to defend themselves.
“All huge numbers, all very, very troublesome,” Villanueva said. “I’m going to identify this as ‘existential threat number one,’ particularly for people who live in communities where they have a large percentage of African American and Latino residents. You are the ones that are in the impact zone, that are mostly impacted by this existential threat.”
Fox LA’s Bill Melugin broke down the sheriff’s statistics on Twitter, noting a 40 percent increase in grand theft auto, a 7.8 percent increase in rape, a 12.9 percent increase in aggravated assault, and a 22 percent increase in arson.
Villanueva also condemned the city’s inaction on the rise in crime.
“I have yet to hear a single motion from the Board of Supervisors addressing this. Not one,” he said, later adding, “We have less cops on the street, more crooks, less consequences. What could go wrong with that combination, right?”
The sheriff went on to say that the department has increased its capacity to process concealed carry permits.
“We’re recognizing that a threat to the residents is increasing, so we’re responding accordingly,” the sheriff said.
Villanueva said the department currently has 360 permits being processed, adding that people who “are responsible, pass the training, don’t have any convictions or legal limitations” should be given the opportunity to protect themselves with a firearm in public.
The city of Los Angeles has seen similar spikes in crime after it slashed its police budget by $150 million over the summer last year, totaling roughly 8 percent of the department’s budget. But in May, the city agreed to increase the budget in order to hire around 250 new officers, the New York Times reported, almost completely restoring the hefty cuts made in 2020. Los Angeles had just 9,800 sworn officers after the cuts, the lowest number since 2008.
“We’ve lost more than a decade of progress,” Chief Michel Moore of the Los Angeles Police Department said, noting dropping crime rates prior to the pandemic.
“I won’t argue that there is substandard housing, education, broken families, substance abuse, the systems that are racist and have systemic issues that have gone on for generations,” he said, referring to protesters’ demands. “But the fix of that is not to eliminate policing.”