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Criminologist examines why crime is rising in EBR

3 years ago August 08, 2012 Aug 8, 2012 Wednesday, August 08 2012 Wednesday, August 08, 2012 5:26:20 PM CDT in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Adrian Pittman

BATON ROUGE - Louisiana State University is joining forcing with local law enforcement agencies to help combat crime by researching and getting to the root of its growth and spread.

Crime is definitely on the mind of people living in Baton Rouge, especially in zip code 70805 where five people have been murdered so far this year.

"It's way out of control," said Ernest Jackson, who lives in that area. "You may miss one night, but just about every night of the week, somebody is getting killed."

To help try and lower crime in this area, LSU is lending a hand. A group of criminologists are researching crime in the city-parish, and attribute much of it to 15-24 year-old-males they describe as "floaters".

"They're floating around, not connected to anything, they're not in school, they're not in the military, they're not in the labor force, they don't have a job, they're at prime risk for community crime," says researcher Edward Shihadeh.

He said floaters typically thrive in areas like 70805.

"Very high rates of unemployment, high rates of poverty a lot of vacant houses a lot of despair," he said.

These criminologists believe the spike in floaters happened because of teen pregnancy in the early to mid 90's.

"This spike in fertility produces children that are a risk for neglect, being unwanted and of course, 15-17 years later, they're going to be in the crime-prone age group," says Shihadeh.

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