Baton Rouge City Police released statistics for the first six months of 2008 claiming crime is on the decrease.  In order to determine the parish as a whole, we also need the statistics from the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office which are not available.  The last figures released by the EBRSO were for 2007.

With all due respect to the BR Police Department, statistics are relative to reporting.  Robbery was up 24 for the first six months of 2008 compared to 2007.  Rape was up 8 for the first six months of 2008 compared to 2007.  History of crime statistics for the BRPD indicate that any given crime goes up or down from month to month.  Overall statistics are what matters.

Headlines indicate crime is a major concern and not on the downward swing:

ARSON:  “The total number of arsons in East Baton Rouge Parish is consistent with the number last year.”  The Advocate,  July 26, 2008

MURDER:  “The number of murders committed within Baton Rouge City limits last year was 2 shy of a 1993 high of 74 victims.”  The Advocate, January 12, 2008

OVERALL RANKING:  “Baton Rouge was the 28th most dangerous city in the nation, and the most dangerous city in the state.”  The Advocate, January 17, 2008

GARDERE AREA:  “Crime around the apartments have been bad for more than a decade.  This year has been especially violent with four people shot to death in less than six months.”  The Advocate, June 15, 2008

SCOTLANDVILLE AREA:  “Many years ago Scotlandville was a thriving community . . . our community is scared . . . we have to do something about crime in our area.”  The Advocate, August 20, 2008

GARDEN DISTRICT:  “The overall level of crime (in the Garden District) is not any worse than in any other neighborhoods.”  Nevertheless, off-duty patrol officers have been increased from 90 to 120 hours monthly.  The Advocate, July 24, 2008

As I said, statistics are relative, take a look:

“A spokesman for the Baton Rouge Police Department said the agency does not track how many people are injured by gunfire unintended for them.  The Advocate show stray bullets have derailed numerous lives across the parish in the past few years.”  The Advocate, August 15, 2008

Again, to see the entire picture you need all statistics for EBR Parish – not just the BRPD stats.  Let me be very clear that all officers of the law are doing their best with the tools they have been provided.  Statistics are not an indication that officers are not giving their all.  I doubt you could find anyone who would not agree that deputies and police officers do an incredible job on a daily basis. 

There is a bigger problem that our community must address.  It begins at the top.  Mayor Kip Holden promised to address crime with community policing.  The definition of community policing can be relative depending upon the politician you ask.  

Patrick Olivier, criminal justice professor at Cedarville University in Ohio, said:

“When crime starts to increase, there is more pressure to show short-term results.”

After four years of being in office, Mayor Kip Holden finally decided to address the problems in crime-ridden and blighted Eden Park in August with a job fair, neighborhood clean-up and crime prevention workshop according to The Advocate, August 5, 2008. 

Well, it is an election year.  Enough said.

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican