Leaders react to newspaper article bashing BR crime rate

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A global spotlight is shining on south Louisiana with the Super Bowl days away, but a story in the Times-Picayune newspaper is adding dark clouds to the mix about the state's two biggest cities.

It points out more murders happened this January in Baton Rouge than in New Orleans.

It's no secret that Baton Rouge bears the markings of one of the deadliest cities in the country. In 2012, the Capital City made the top ten with 67 murders. While New Orleans came out on top, the article by the Times-Picayune shows East Baton Rouge's homicide rate is ahead of Orleans this year.

"It's true. It's true. We're getting worse on everything," one resident said.

"Yeah, it's really bad over here. People are killing and dying every day. It's bad," Travis Hubert said.

Nineteenth Judicial District Attorney Hillar Moore said he is very aware.

"Every day I watch what's going on in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and around the country. Lately I've been a bit offended they are that high," Moore said.

While Moore admits crime has become a serious problem, he believes he and area law enforcement agencies are on top of it. He references previous months as proof.

"I don't think you can judge Baton Rouge just by what's going on in one month. If you go back four or five prior months, the murder rate has gone tremendously down. January has been a really brutal month and it's one I'm ready to get rid of," Moore said.

The district attorney said the recently established B.R.A.V.E. initiative, which aims at targeting repeat offenders in north Baton Rouge, should keep East Baton Rouge out of the national spotlight.

Mayor-President Kip Holden declined an on camera interview to discuss the article, but his spokesman told 9News, Holden does not agree with the findings and the perception by the Times-Picayune.

However, residents feel differently. They tell us leaders should take the facts printed here as a sign of the times.

"It's not (too early to compare) because there's a lot of babies getting killed, and parents are having to bury their kids instead of kids burying parents. It's outrageous," Bridgett Terrell said.

Baton Rouge Police Department spokesman, L'Jean McKneely, also said it is too early to speculate.

Moore expects the B.R.A.V.E. program to be working in the 70805 zip code come March.

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