Despite busy week, police chief says violent crime down in Baton Rouge
BATON ROUGE - Despite a rash of violent crime in Baton Rouge this week, Police Chief Murphy Paul says the city is heading in the right direction.
The chief held a press conference Tuesday morning alongside Deputy Chief Johnny Dunham and members of the street crimes unit, which targets groups believed to be responsible for a majority of the violent crimes in the city.
According to statistics presented at the conference, the homicide rate is down four percent compared to this same time last year, which turned out to be a record year for homicides in Baton Rouge. Dunham specifically pointed out there had been a 64-percent decrease in homicides over the past three months compared to that same stretch in 2017. He also said armed robberies and other violent crimes had seen a significant drop.
Paul attributed the downward trend to the community's willingness to report those crimes.
"Your willingness to speak has helped us give Baton Rouge the safest month of July that we've seen, when it comes to homicides, since 2002," the chief said.
Paul asked that residents continue to cooperate with police, adding that the two homicides his department responded to last month were "still too many".
BRPD responded to a number of shootings this week. The latest occurred Wednesday on Oak Villa near the Cortana Mall, where on person was injured from a gunshot while on a CATS bus. Three other shootings were reported on Tuesday alone.
The chief said a number of factors played a role in the recent rash of violence, including drugs, mental illness and a lack of conflict resolution.