BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A record number of people were lost to violence last year with 136 homicides in EBR Parish and 100 in Baton Rouge.
Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul says the pandemic likely played a part in the spike.
“We ended the year with a 42, 43% increase in homicides compared to our previous years,” Paul said. “So we had two years of successful decreases, not just in violence but in crime, so what was different? The pandemic.”
Paul points his finger at the lockdowns and the disruption it had on the influx of drugs into Baton Rouge, which would normally be a good thing but he said it has caused dealers to start fighting on supply.
He also notes domestic violence has increased sharply.
“We saw a closer relationship between the suspects and the victims,” Paul said. “We saw an increase in domestic violence homicides, over 600% with an intimate partner. We saw more daytime shootings as well.”
Homicides are up across the country, trend experts say is likely from the pandemic, but Baton Rouge is on the higher end of that trend.
Chief Paul said his department has learned lessons from the previous year, saying his department has more tools and opportunities to help his officers target the population that is largely committing the violence. He has moved officers from administrative roles to patrol to help make their presence known in the community, however, he said his department cannot stop the carnage by itself.
“It’s family members stepping up,” the Chief said. Many of these homicides the suspect communicated his intentions prior to that and you know he communicated that to someone in his inner circle.”
Paul asks you to call BRPD or the EBR Sheriff’s Office if you suspect someone may turn to violence. If you are unwilling to call law enforcement there are other groups like C.H.A.N.G.E.
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