Police out in full force for holidays

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - With last minute shoppers still checking off that Christmas list, there are those looking to take advantage.  But the message from Baton Rouge Police is clear: think twice.  Chief Dewayne White is increasing officer presence during the holidays.  

"32 additional officers during that 10-hour stretch of time," said Chief White.

Beginning Christmas Eve at 4 p.m., up to eight officers in each of the four districts will be out responding to calls and patrolling the streets until 2 a.m. every night.  These overtime shifts will be in addition to officers already working at those times.

The move is a first for the department and one that's in response to the up tick in armed robberies.

"Right now, we're averaging about three armed robberies a day.  That's either an armed robbery of a business or individual," said Chief White.

Chief White said armed robberies are higher this year than they were last year at this time.  It's why the top cop will put the officers in high-crime areas encouraging them to make arrests when needed.  The goal is to have the extra presence reduce robberies.  It's what Chief White said his department has successfully done when it comes to murders this year.

From January 1, 2012 till August 31, 2012, there were 57 murders within Baton Rouge, and criminologists were saying Baton Rouge was on pace for a record year.  Since the B.R.A.V.E. operation took to the 70805 zip code and street operations were increased, there's been a significant drop.

"From September 1 to date, we've had 12," said Chief White.

That brings the total for the year so far to 69.  So until January 1st, you can now expect an increased presence of officers on the streets and shopping centers

The money for the overtime officers is coming from unused salary money left over in this year's budget.

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