Homicide and heroin deaths in Baton Rouge for 2013

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Heroin deaths are spiking while murders are down in East Baton Rouge Parish.

On the deadly drug Heroin, EBR Coroner Beau Clark says the laws applied to drug dealers need to be amended because of the high number of deaths. "We're thinking the final total is going to be 34. We have 31 confirmed cases with three pending toxicology at this point," says Clark." "And so when we get that back we'll know what our final number for 2013 is going to be."

On the murder rate, several factors contribute to the lower rate. There were 96 in the parish last year and 78 this year; 68 of those coming inside the City of Baton Rouge.

"We have a lot more data-driven police and sheriff work, so working a lot smarter with the existing resources we had," says East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore III. "The call-in's were a big part with the BRAVE effort. It's been a really stressful year but it's paid off in the long run."

Baton Rouge City Police Chief Carl Dabadie agrees. "The collaboration of all the agencies in the area: sheriff's office, state police, the District Attorney's office," says Dabdie. "I think that has played a large role in it; the working together of the agencies as one unit to combat crime in the parish. Not just the city, but parish, has put a big dent in our homicide numbers.

"We're centered in one office over at the violent crime unit. You can look over a cubicle and talk to the other agency. That has made a huge difference. The collaborative effort is with not only the local agencies but our federal partners."

"This is the first step. We have a long way to go in all this. We're not going to sit here and claim victory here that we've solved the problem because we haven't. We're going to continue also. We're going to keep these efforts going and try to get that number lower next year."

"The homicide rates are tremendously down and hats off to our law enforcement community and other partners who have really made a conscious effort with the programs that have been initiated to drive that number down," added Coroner Clark.

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