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Downtown police to patrol 24/7 in light of more incoming events

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BATON ROUGE - With upcoming festivals, parades, sports, and more, downtown Baton Rouge has returned to its pre-COVID tourism levels, and Baton Rouge police are stepping up to provide round-the-clock patrols.

Just this weekend, downtown will have two hockey games, a concert, 5k run, and the 13th Gate haunted house.

To make sure the influx of visitors remains safe, the Baton Rouge Police has added officers in order to provide a 24/7 presence.

"I'm excited about getting the extra officers for downtown for night shift to patrol the areas," said Captain Brian Blake. "Let's face it, downtown is a growing community. It's a vibrant community. They have all the special activities going on during the weekends, special events. They're all scheduled year-round now. So as downtown continues to grow, the baton rouge police department fifth district needs to grow with it."

This year, there have been at least three shootings in the same area of downtown -- one of them deadly. However, this new schedule does not seem to be directly in response to those incidents.

"Downtown is safe," Blake said. "It's always been safe and it continues to be safe because we have a very active community and a community that responds and interacts with the police department. They know about it, we know about, and we solve the crimes that way when they do happen."

Blake says the crimes in their district are typically minor.

"We respond to any call that's answered; 911, a burglary, a theft, or just a '60' when somebody locks their keys in their car," Blake said.

They hope the increased presence will give visitors a sense of security and community.

"We're always going to be on bicycles," Blake said. "Our presence is everywhere. Everywhere you turn you will see an officer on foot, in a marked police car or on a bicycle. Stop and talk to us, we'll tell you where you need to eat."

The new schedule is already in effect and they plan on making it permanent.

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