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American Press

Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Southwest Louisiana ,

Spike in LC violence caused by growth

Last Modified: Friday, May 19, 2017 8:50 AM

By The American Press

What’s behind Lake Charles’ spike in violence?

Turns out, the answer is progress.

“I think that what you will see is something that we somewhat expected as we go about a lot of the growth and development that’s been occurring,” Mayor Randy Roach said.

This week the Lake Charles Police Department released its 2016 crime statistics. With the exception of robberies, crime in Lake Charles was up across the board — 5.3 percent, to be exact. The department classifies criminal offenses into three categories: crimes against people, crimes against property and other criminal offenses.

In 2016, the number of crimes against people increased to 1,871 over 2015’s 1,604. The number of crimes against property increased from 4,826 in 2015, up 1.9 percent over 2015’s 4,737. Other criminal offenses — property damage, disturbing the peace, drug offenses, DWI — increased to 3,644 cases in 2016, over 2015’s 3,477.

Ten murders were reported in 2016, seven more than in 2015; 44 rapes were reported, one more than in 2015; and assault and battery reports were 1,643, 268 more than last year. The only categories to decrease were robbery and the number of juvenile arrests. There were 174 robberies reported in 2016, down 4.9 percent from 2015’s 183. There were 221 juveniles arrested in 2016, down 4.3 percent from 2015’s 231.

The area of Broad Street east to Kayouchee Coulee, south to Union Pacific Railroad and west to First Avenue recorded the highest number of crimes, the department said.

But while the number of crimes committed has increased, so, too, were the number of cases cleared. The clearance rate was 92.7 percent for crimes against people; 64.8 percent for other criminal offenses; 58.4 percent for overall criminal offenses; and 40.3 percent for crimes against property. The department should be proud of itself for clearing so many cases.

We are lucky to have such a dedicated team of officers keeping our streets safe, but residents have a role to play in keeping the community safe as well.

We have to be the eyes and ears of the community because police can’t be everywhere all the time, especially as they have the difficult job of confronting the recent spike in violent crime.

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