Drug dealers inside the Alexandria jail wait for sentencing, and identity thieves count their days until being released. But senior officials in the sheriff's office are counting something else: heads.
According to Inmate Records Director Ron Wise, the jail has about 100 fewer local inmates than it did four years ago.
"Most people believe that when the economy goes south that crime increases, but it seems that just the opposite has been the case," he says.
Wise says that nobody's really sure what's behind the trend.
"I don't know whether that's because of the greater police presence or maybe there's more social programs that are helping people out when times are hard," he says.
One thing is for certain: there's a financial advantage for the city. The extra jail space is being used by about 20 new federal prisoners, which come with $113 a day.