BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - An uptick in violent crime prompted the chief of the Baton Rouge Police Department to hold a press conference Thursday, July 9 about the importance of receiving tips from the public in solving crimes.
Chief Murphy Paul also highlighted numerous non-profit organizations the police department has been working with to build better relationships with the community and prevent crime.
“Let me make sure I’m clear. Overall crime in the City of Baton Rouge is down. Those are facts right now,” said Chief Paul.
Paul says the data can back him up on that statement, however, they are worried about one statistic.
"We do have some areas of concern, and specifically those areas are homicides. Our homicides are up. Right around this time last year we had about a little over 30, and right now we're sitting at 45," said Paul.
The chief says what stands out about those numbers, is that about 42% of the deaths by homicides this year, happened inside of a house. And he believes one thing could be causing the uptick.
“I can’t help but think the impact that stress and anxiety are causing in this community because of the Covid-19 crisis, is somehow influencing those numbers I just gave you. We can do better,” said Chief Paul.
That's why the chief called on a number of local advocacy organizations to talk about how they can possibly help out some members of our community, in their times of need.
"It's our goal to intervene and stop the killing and stop the violence," said Cleve Dunn Jr. with SAVE OUR SONS.
"You know we educate everyone on what violence reduction actually looks like," said Boo Milton, with Cities United.
“What we’re doing is working with our community to identify some of the issues that are creating the problems we’re seeing,” said Sateria Tate-Alexander with the C.H.A.N.G.E. organization.
“We provide advocacy, counseling, information, and referrals,” said Twahna Harris, with the Butterfly Society.
"We can provide security and we can provide you with options when you leave the abuser," said John Price, with the IRIS Domestic Violence Center.
"We are addressing the trauma, the mental and emotional stresses that black youth in particular experience when it comes to violence," said Alvarez Hertzock with The Bridge Agency.
People like Elizabeth Robinson, with the C.H.A.N.G.E. organization, her son Louis was shot and killed back in May of 2018, and police have still not found his killer.
"We have to put the guns down, we have to call Crimestoppers because the killers are still out there. And until we come together as a community and start calling these numbers and saying I'm tired of 'Joe Blow' on my corner killing people. Because guess what, if he killed my son, he's coming to kill somebody else's son. So we all need to come together as a community," said Robinson.
Chief Paul saying BRPD can't solve these crimes alone, and they need your help.
Crime is a social-economic issue and it is bigger than law enforcement, please understand that. The change is going to happen in this community and it is happening in this community. We are dealing with some unprecedented times right now,” said Paul.
Paul and many other community leaders said violent crime is not just a problem for law enforcement, but a problem for anyone that lives in Baton Rouge.
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