Shreveport mayor, police chief tout lowest violent crime since 1975

State News

SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Violent crime in Shreveport has reached a 44-year low, according to annual crime statistics released by city leaders Monday.

“2019 was one of the safest years in Shreveport history,” Mayor Adrian Perkins said at a news conference Monday morning.

“Part 1 crime fell 8 percent over the past year, reaching its lowest point since 1975. I’m gonna repeat that: its lowest point since 1975. That is 45 years, that this is the lowest point. When compared to 1989, the highest point for Part 1 crimes on record, it’s a 60 percent decline.”

Part 1 crime includes homicide, rape, robbery, burglary, theft, auto theft, assault, and battery. As Police Chief Ben Raymond noted, agencies throughout the nation report these crimes to the FBI, which compiles statistical data “that allows us to compare ourselves with other municipalities and agencies to see how we’re doing nationwide.”

“In 1975, Shreveport reported 10,628 total Part 1 crimes. From that year forward, crime has trended upwards to a high point of 25,095 in 1989. During the last decade, it has come back down. But in 2019, we reported 10,665 Part 1 crimes. That’s fewer than 40 more crimes than were reported 44 years ago.”

Homicides saw the sharpest decline,” Perkins said. “29 percent less homicides last year. That is huge.”

Robberies fell by 13 percent, according to the released crime statistics.

“These are just numbers, and I know we like to think about it in terms of numbers sometimes, but these are lives,” said Perkins. “This means, with fewer homicides, there are fewer children who have to bury parents and fewer parents that have to bury their children.”

In a statement released with the crime statistics, Mayor Perkins pointed to an increase in the number of non-law enforcement interactions between officers and citizens, which he said “improves trust and leads to more information shared with law enforcement.” As a result, Perkins said the Shreveport Police Department’s homicide clearance rate increased by 19 percent over the past year. The “clearance rate” measures the number of crimes, in this case, homicides, “cleared” or “solved.” For comparison, Shreveport’s homicide clearance rate was 73 percent in 2019, which is 9 percent above the national average. “When citizens and the police department work together, our neighborhoods are safer and stronger.”

Perkins says recent technological advancements made in security and surveillance systems, along with improved investigative techniques, also contributed to the drastic reduction in crime.

“The enhanced quality, affordability, and ubiquity of surveillance cameras serve as both a crime deterrent and a reliable source of evidence. Business and residential burglary in Shreveport decreased by 11 percent in 2019, which can be attributed in part to better video footage and tips from citizens through one of our partners at Crime Stoppers. SPD investigators released 206 videos through Crime Stoppers in 2019, leading to 81 closed cases and hundreds of arrests.”

Perkins said “many factors contributed to this historic reduction in crime,” in addition to technology and community policing, including “good old-fashioned police work.” But he also said there is more work to be done.

“I am grateful for the work of the Shreveport Police Department. They put their lives on the line to keep Shreveport families safe. While 2019 was one of the safest years in Shreveport history, we have to do more to make our city safer. We have to work harder to get illegal weapons off our streets and violent criminals out of our neighborhoods. Chief Raymond and I are already walking Shreveport streets, talking to citizens about how we can make 2020 even safer.”

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