Every 6 months or so, I read with great interest the crime statistics provided by East Baton Rouge Parish via our media outlets. It’s one thing to say ‘the murder rate is down’; it’s entirely another task to understand the methologies and numbers as they really exist.
Let’s discuss murders in 2011. Understanding, of course, that we do not have access to all of the detailed data, we can read the archives of The Advocate and determine what is reported to the taxpayers of EBR Parish.
There are a lot of different statistics to consider:
81: On Sunday, February 5, 2012, The Advocate reported there were 81 murders in EBR Parish (incorporated and unincorporated city limits).
64: On February 18, 2012, The Advocate reports there were 64 murders in the incorporated city limits of the Red Stick, according to the BR Police Dept.
17: Subtracting The Advocate’s report of 64 city murders vs. 81 parish murders equates to only 17 murder in the unincorporated portions of the parish. (Unfortunately, the murders in the unincorporated sections of EBR Parish are not identified on the EBR Sheriff’s website. (EBRSO stats are from 2009; a bit out of date guys!)
There are some flaws in the Uniform Crime Reporting as far as tracking crime. I know this because I read the entire archives of The Advocate for 2011 and found more than 17 murders in the unincorporated portions of our parish.
Though I do not believe all murders are storied in the daily newspaper, I do think those murders reported are actual. Unfortunately, we are left to the tracking of law enforcement under the guidelines of Uniform Crime Reporting system which can make a significant determination in the method in which crimes are reported.
The City of Baton Rouge has 227,818 residents in the city limits with 64 murders; 81 in the Parish. New Orleans has 343,829 residents in their city limits, and UCR statistics show 105 murders in their city. They have 66% more residents than we do, and we have 60% of the murders they have. It puts things into perspective.
Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Walker stated last week while announcing his Mayorial intentions that Baton Rouge has crime equal or worst to New Orleans. Earlier that same day, Mayor-President Kip Holden stated that serious crimes were on the decline.
Any way you cut it, we have a crime problem. Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Walker recognizes, along with District Attorney Hillar Moore, that crimes are repeated by many of the same offenders.
On the other hand, the percentage of those commiting the actual murders are often commiting only one murder each. I certainly do not discount those repeat offenders that commit multiple murders; the numbers are simply smaller.
Crime does escalate in the eye of a perpetrator. Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Walker got it wrong by stating that we need to crack down on misdemeanors such as parking violations, etc. and keep a misdemeanor jail open 24/7. Parking violators and such are not in the same league as those commiting crimes that escalate to violent crimes.
Furthermore, Walker touted Baton Rouge Serial Killer Derrick Todd Lee as an example of a perpetrator that passed through the court system numerous times. This was an unfortunate example to use because Lee’s crimes were of a much more serious nature. We can’t compare stalking and masturbation outside of women’s bedroom windows with those individuals committing parking violations.
This gap in linking serious crimes with non-violent crimes that do not escalate concerns me greatly on Walker’s behalf, even though I am a fan of Walker and have respect for some of the intitiatives he has implemented during this political career.
I am digressing to the Mayor’s race, but if we are to look for the right candidate for the Office of Mayor-President while addressing the apparent spike in crime (regardless of crime statistics shared), we must find a candidate that is not a politician.
Baton Rouge, and East Baton Rouge Parish, needs to address crime head-on and properly classify perpetrators, while admitting we have a huge, escalating crime problem in the Red Stick.
Who is that candidate?
Until next time,
Red Stick Republican