BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Some recent violent crimes in the Capital City are connected to unlikely suspects. Baton Rouge Police said juveniles are responsible for at least two incidents in the last week that have resulted in life-threatening emergencies.
Crime is no stranger to the Baton Rouge community. It has ranked among the top ten cities in the nation for criminal behavior. But recently, the alleged suspects have gone unnamed. They were never charged, because they are juveniles.
Last week a nine year old boy was suspected of setting his neighbor's dog on fire while the pup was locked in a kennel.
Nineteenth Judicial District Assistant District Attorney, Curtis Nelson, oversees juvenile cases in East Baton Rouge Parish.
"If there's not immediate redirection then there's probably the attitude, we got away with it once maybe we can get away with it again," Nelson said.
On Saturday, Baton Rouge Police said a group of juveniles beat a man and set his pants on fire because he didn't have a cigarette.
"That's not common and it's something you definitely want to look into because that is very aggressive behavior."
Nelson said juvenile offenders are brought into court and dealt with under the Family In Need of Services law, or FINS. Depending on their age, they could go through a psychological evaluation or be put in state custody.
Nelson said overall, juvenile crimes have decreased since last year.
He credits the district's BRAVE initiative, a form of community policing.
"Having those officers in the community, doing direct interaction with the young people, I think that brought about a reduction in violent juvenile crimes."
But, he said, if those offenders are not disciplined they could become career criminals.
"If you look at that individual past there may have been some signs of troubled behavior."
The sooner they get help, he said, the better their chances of becoming responsible and productive citizens.