LSU professors: Crime wave 10 years in the making

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Poor education, poverty, natural disasters. All reasons why a pair of LSU criminology professors say our city and state have watched crime continue to escalate. And they say this crime wave has been almost a decade in the making.

Dr. Edward Shihadeh and his colleague, Dr. Matthew Lee, have spent the last ten years trying to focus on the main root of the crime in the Capital City. Their research shows that a larger number of men fall in the 15 to 20-year-old range these days - a group is a large part of the city's problems. They've dubbed a segment of this age group "floaters".

"They're not in school. They don't have a job. They're not even in the labor force. They're not in the military. They're not connected to their local church . They're not connected to their local institutions," said Shihadeh.

Shihadeh and Lee say these young men, disconnected from society, tend to be the most violent and dangerous people.

"Drug markets tend to be staffed by young people who haven't fully developed their impulse control anyway. And then throw firearms in the mix...that really was throwing fuel on the fire," said Lee.

The professors are working with the brave anti-crime program to target areas with high floater populations and hopefully embrace the public who may be scared to go to the police.

"The efforts of law enforcement that are going around in Baton Rouge right now will go a long way towards diminishing that concern because it's largely driven by mistrust of the police," said Lee.

The researchers also say it's time for Louisiana politicians to bite the bullet and put their money where they mouth is.

"Texas may not have any income tax," said Shihadeh. "So where do they get all of their money, from property tax. And their schools are fantastic, and their crime rates are lower than ours. The proof is in the pudding."

The professors say New Orleans also has a high number of floaters meaning high crime there.

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