First month of 2021 sees historically high number of homicides in EBR parish, few arrests
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The new year is proving to be a continuation of the prior year’s spike in violence, and although the cases do not seem to be connected, officials believe the ongoing pandemic could be a large factor.
“We feel it’s relative,” said Sgt. L’Jean McKneely, a public information officer for the Baton Rouge Police Department. “We have a lot of programs that have ended or been put on hold due to the pandemic. And a lot of businesses are not doing the services they normally do.”
This was the same logic given for the dramatic spike in homicides for the prior year.
“We ended the year with a 42, 43% increase in homicides compared to our previous years,” said Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul during an interview conducted earlier this month. “So we had two years of successful decreases, not just in violence but in crime, so what was different? The pandemic.”
The unofficial numbers show that there were a total of 19 homicides in East Baton Rouge Parish during the month of January. That’s more than double what it was last year.
“We’re doing analysis to see if there’s some common denominator. Right now we don’t think there is one,” said. Sgt. McKneely.
Of the total number of homicides in the parish, the Baton Rouge Police Department has investigated the lion’s share.
“We have 14 open murder investigations. We have made arrests in three of the cases so far,” Sgt. McKneely noted.
With so many cases mounting, the department is working to get more assistance to those investigating officers.
“There’s a thought to get some more manpower allowance,” Sgt. McKneely explained. “[The detectives] are working day and night to put their best foot forward. They take pride in their job and they’re going to put forth all their resources to make arrests.”
The best way to solve the cases, however, is for the community to step up.
“Somebody out there knows something,” he said. “We’re hoping that the people who do know will become involved to try and prevent these shootings. Get involved in your community. If you think individuals are having a problem with each other, say something so we can interact and possibly prevent.”
“It all starts at home.”
Below is a list of the open murder cases in which no arrests have been made. To learn more about those cases, click on the name to see the most current report on that case. The cases in bold are those where an arrest has been made in connection to the case. However, a case is not closed until the perpetrator is convicted.
If you know anything that could help investigators solve one of these cases, call Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-7867 (STOP).
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