St. Charles crime rate goes down

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 3, 1999

By LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / Febuary 3, 1999

HAHNVILLE – St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg C. Champagne reported a 1percent drop in crime during 1998 over 1997.

Overall, 2,753 crimes were reported in 1998, a slight decrease from 1997’s total of 2,777 incidents.

His latest statistics showed decreases in five of the seven major crime categories, tracking homicides, forcible rape, assault, robbery, burglary, theft and auto theft.

“We’re extremely pleased that we were able to maintain a relatively low crime rate in St. Charles last year, despite the continued growth inpopulation,” Champagne observed.

In reviewing the 1998 totals, decreases were noted in property crimes – burglaries, thefts and auto thefts – but the biggest drops were recorded in the robbery and murder rates.

Murder dropped from four incidents in 1997 to two in 1998. Robberiesdropped from 56 in 1997 to 40 in 1998, a 28 percent drop.

The property crime decreases reported were: burglary, from 482 to 427; theft, from 1,232 to 1,194; and auto theft, from 170 to 160 incidents.

“It’s encouraging to see that the stepped-up patrols and communitywide efforts under way are getting results,” Champagne stated.

However, increases were recorded in forcible rape cases – from nine in 1997 to 22 in 1998; and in assaults, from 813 in 1997 to 908 in 1998.

Over such incidents, a sheriff’s office can do little to prevent such crimes, Champagne noted. Also, such incidents are being reported morefrequently, where they might not have been in the past.

In reviewing the 1998 crime statistics, Champagne concluded, “We’re fortunate here in that the residents of St. Charles Parish have generouslysupported the work of the sheriff’s department. It’s that willingness to bea partner in fighting crime that has resulted in a drop in the number of crimes against property.”Champagne is due to break ground on a new, expanded jail this spring. Witha larger jail, the sheriff hopes to cut further into crime by repeat offenders.

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