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Violent crime in Baton Rouge showing no signs of slowing down, criminologist says

Perry Robinson talks about what a local criminologist had to say about recent gun violence in Baton Rouge.
Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 10:50 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - It was a deadly and violent 24 hours in Baton Rouge.

Between Monday, Jan. 18, and Tuesday, Jan. 19, 8 people were shot in Baton Rouge.

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LSU Criminologist Dr. Peter Scharf studies crime trends in both the capital city and New Orleans. He fears this could become a new normal.

“2022 and 2023 for both cities are going to get ugly,” said Scharf.

Nationwide, crime is increasing as continues to rebound from COVID. Dr. Scharf said the reasoning behind this spike is more complex than just blaming the pandemic.

“Is it really just as simple as the pandemic? No, but the pandemic can lead to destabilization in certain economic sectors,” said Scharf.

Scharf said one of those sectors is the illegal drug market.

“The drug trade, the illegal drug trade got destabilized, and what we know about destabilized drug markets is that that can increase your murder rates,” said Scharf.

But how do you solve this problem?

Dr. Scharf said there were specialized police units in the past that helped to target criminal activity, which meant more officers in the street.

He said police departments have to hire more highly skilled and qualified officers if we want to see any sort of change.

“Developing very skilled officers who can understand the plight people are in right now who are looking for food, looking for clothing, or looking for housing,” said Scharf.

Scharf said the current crime rate appears to show no signs of slowing down anytime soon, but he feels there’s still a lot we can learn from this trend.

“We have to do a lot more research just so we can understand,” said Scharf.

If you have any information to help police with any of these shootings, you can call Crimestoppers at (225)344-STOP.

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