BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Compared to previous years, the first half of 2017 has been particularly deadly in East Baton Rouge parish, according to data from the District Attorney's office.
So far in 2017, 43 people have been murdered parish-wide. That is up approximately 65 percent compared to this same time last year, when data shows there were about 26 murders.
"Wherever I go, day or night, people just shake their head and say what's going on," said DA Hillar Moore, who notes that last year was "unusually quiet" when it comes to homicides.
The stats from 2015 and 2014 more closely align with the murder rates from this year. Data shows 39 murders by this point in 2015 and 38 murders by this time in 2014.
Last year, Moore in part credited the lower murder count to work done by the BRAVE initiative. He said he still believes it is working, noting that this year's deaths are largely not the result of the sort of gang violence that BRAVE works to prevent.
Instead, this year Moore said many of the murders are connected to domestic incidents and drug violence.
"You don't usually call the police when you get ripped off, have a bad product. You handle things yourself in the street," Moore said.
Overall, Moore said he is "frustrated" to see the numbers for this year so high. As for why there is an uptick, Moore said there are plenty of possible causes, not the least of which is law enforcement being stretched thin.
"When a department is understaffed, they then have to take people from proactive units and have them answer regular calls. I think that has significantly hurt Baton Rouge effort to reduce homicides," Moore said.
Moore also noted that distrust between police and the community is making crime fighting more difficult. Well over half of the murders from the past month remain unsolved.