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Record year for homicides, overdoses keeping crime scene clean-up crews busy

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BATON ROUGE - It's a job most would never want to do, but someone has to do it.

"If you pretty much hear about it on the news, we're behind the scenes later on cleaning it up, dealing with the families, helping the survivors of the situation get through that situation and try to return to normalcy," said Larry Douglas owner of Xtreme Cleaners.

From crime scenes to hoarding situations, disease clean-ups and toxic chemical abatement, they are in the business of undoing.

"It runs in trends. At one point, meth labs, we had eight a week. And one parish had 360 labs in one year alone. It was so busy, but now we do two or three a year," Douglas said. "Now hoarding calls have picked up. We have a lot of OD deaths."

This year, with unprecedented numbers of homicides and overdoses, the phone has been ringing off the hook.

"The record number of overdoses, domestic violence, murder cases has definitely increased our businesses. More crime and more hoarders and overdoses there are, then we're going to be busier."

Though Xtreme Cleaners is contracted by East Baton Rouge Parish, many of their jobs are privately commissioned.

"Fortunately, our services are covered by homeowners insurance, so anything we do in someone's homeeven a suicideis covered by homeowners. We're able as a preferred vendor of every major insurance company to get it covered for them," Douglas explained. 

Sometimes they are even in the business of helping solve crimes.

"We find evidence probably 70 percent of the time. We'll find a casing. We'll find a round. We'll find notes. We'll find a knife. We find something related to that crime."

Like the trends they've seen in their business, workers hope this latest busy time of cleaning up crimes is also one that will end soon.

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