AG Jeff Landry has roundtable to address Baton Rouge’s spike in violent crime
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - There were a record number of murders in Baton Rouge in 2021.
The state’s Attorney General Jeff Landry is now getting involved in the search for solutions, which is an unprecedented approach to fighting crime in Louisiana’s capital city.
At today’s roundtable with several leaders from local and state law enforcement agencies, addressing the key components to the spike in violent crime across the Metro Baton Rouge area was imperative.
“We want to take Baton Rouge off of the 10 most deadliest cities in the country,” Landry said.
Landry and the others boiled it down to three areas that need vast improvement.
Bail reform, the lack of funding for domestic violence programs, and making it tougher for juveniles committing crimes to get back on the streets.
They pointed the blame mostly on past actions of the state’s legislature.
“When we saw huge bail reform done for the name of civility across the country, and yet all we’ve seen is an increase in violence and repetitive offenses,” Landry explained.
But state Rep. Denise Marcelle (D - Baton Rouge), who sits on the House Criminal Justice Committee, says that’s not accurate.
“First of all, we just passed that legislation, so I don’t think that’s indicative of what we’re seeing today in our spike in crime. It simply gives a person an opportunity to get out of jail and to be heard in court without holding just based on the fact they are poor,” Marcelle said.
As for the lack of funding in domestic violence programs, Landry said, “the problem is across the street at the legislature. They go out there and they write these laws and then they don’t fund them”.
“I have not seen where legislators are not willing to put the money towards domestic violence. I just haven’t seen the evidence for that in terms of domestic violence. And I’m also looking to see if we can do a domestic violence court,” Marcelle said in response to Landry’s comment.
According to law enforcement, the spike in crime is mostly coming from juveniles. They say juveniles are able to continue to commit crimes because of the relaxed laws around them from lawmakers.
“You can’t hold police accountable of the young juveniles and the legislature changed that law,” said the District Attorney for West Baton Rouge, Tony Clayton.
But Rep. Marcelle says the only changes made were at the direction of the U.S Supreme Court.
“I would certainly disagree with that. A lot of the laws that we passed as it relates to juveniles are certainly because of federal laws. And we need to go along those guidelines. We cannot treat juveniles as if they’re adults no matter how old they are and that’s because of federal law,” Marcelle explained.
Obviously, there is some friction between law enforcement and the legislature.
So hopefully this coming session there will be an opportunity for both groups to come together and agree on some changes to make both sides happy.
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