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Crime up in St. Charles Parish

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / August 17, 1998

HAHNVILLE – Newly-released crime statistics for the St. Charles ParishSheriff’s Office show an increase in several categories, as reported to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports for the second quarter of 1998.

Increases were seen in robbery, rape, theft, auto theft and overall volume of crime in St. Charles Parish.Meanwhile, plans will be announced Aug. 20 for a new parish jail, thesheriff announced.

“I’m not panicking,” Sheriff Greg Champagne commented Monday. “Overall,we still have a relatively low crime rate.”The sheriff noted June was especially bad, with children out of school and a few individuals knocking the rates through the roof. Thefts of cellularphones and bicycles had a strong impact on the numbers.

For the second quarter of 1998, covering April through June, there were 768 incidents. This compares to 593 incidents in the previous quarter,January through March, and 684 incidents for the second quarter of 1997.

In crimes against property, there were 12 robberies in the second quarter of 1998. That compares to eight incidents in the previous quarter, and nineincidents in the same quarter of 1997.

In auto theft, there were 50 incidents in the second quarter of 1998, compared to 41 incidents for the previous quarter and 37 incidents in the same quarter of 1997.

In burglary, there were 116 incidents in the second quarter of 1998, which compares to 79 incidents in the previous quarter and 116 incidents in the same quarter of 1997.

In theft, there were 344 incidents in the second quarter of 1998. Thatcompares to 259 in the previous quarter and 313 incidents in the same quarter of 1997.

In crimes against persons, there was one murder in this quarter but none in the previous quarter. There was one in the second quarter of 1997.There were five rapes in the second quarter of 1998, five in the previous quarter and three in the second quarter of 1997. There were 237 assaultsin the second quarter of 1998, compared to 201 in the previous quarter and 311 incidents in the second quarter of 1997.

Champagne said he had all the school resource officers looking for curfew violations during June. “We had more people out there and the crime stillwent up,” he acknowledged.

He has called upon the public to help in that regard by putting away such easily-stolen items as cellular phones, 54 of which were stolen from vehicles in June alone.

“We hope people can help by not leaving the bait out,” he said.

Another problem is a lack of jail space. As of Monday, Champagne said, 12inmates were being held in St. John the Baptist Parish’s facility, “butthey’re asking us to take them back because they need the space.”He continued that the shortage, especially bad in the past four to five months, is aggravated when less-violent inmates are released to make room for more violent suspects, only to commit more crimes and return to custody.

To address that jail space shortage, the Correctional Center Review Committee will unveil plans for a new jail facility, including design and funding scheme, on Aug. 20 at 2 p.m. The meeting will be held in the ParishCouncil chamber in Hahnville.

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