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Criminologist blames spike in crime on August flooding

4 months 1 week 6 days ago Wednesday, August 02 2017 Aug 2, 2017 August 02, 2017 5:41 PM August 02, 2017 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE- LSU Criminologist Dr. Ed Shihadeh believes the recent spike in crime this area has seen so far this year can be attributed to mother nature. Right now, murders are up across the parish by almost 50 percent.

"Right after August, sometime in October and November, we saw a spike in crime," Shihadeh said. "When we are talking about 100,000 people rendered homeless as a result of the flood, it has an enormously disorganizing scrambling effect on the community."

Numbers obtained by the WBRZ Investigative Unit from January until today show a disturbing spoke this year when compared to the past four years.

Homicides to date in EBR Parish are as follows:

45 in 2017
23 in 2016
35 in 2015
36 in 2014
32 in 2013

Dr. Shihadeh says an old theory they study in criminology backs up what Baton Rouge is seeing.

"When a community becomes disorganized, maybe from a weather event, or a huge economic event, something that disorganizes it, you will see a rise overall in the entire community," Shihadeh said. "Until the city has a chance to reorganize itself."

Currently, the East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney's Office has a team of people working for what's called a Crime Strategies Unit or CSU. Data is collected to gather intelligence on the streets and what they're finding is alarming.

"These young kids that are using guns, are using communal guns," District Attorney Hillar Moore said. "It works, and its effective. They keep it in a trap house and go to that house or location and use it over and over again. We've been tracking shell casings through the Crime Strategies Unit."

Tonight Moore says a lack of officers on the streets is also a problem. Baton Rouge Police are seeing a decrease in applicants after the police shootings and the flood. Earlier this summer, WBRZ showed you there were almost 60 openings. Normally the department may have about 15. As those prosecuting and analyzing what's happening so far in 2017, they are very concerned about what's proving to be a problematic year.

"All the drivers of crime, poverty, racial issues, education, truancy, all those things that drive crime," Moore said. "Louisiana is at the top of the list. Baton Rouge is there. So you really don't have to wonder why we are in the position we are in."

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