Violent crime drops in St. John

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 7, 2003

By JERRY LePRE-Managing Editor

LAPLACE – The number of violent crime incidents in St. John Parish between January and March is down compared to last year. However, due to thefts of anhydrous ammonia from the Ruddock Pump Station overall crime is slightly higher.

According to statistics recently released by the St. John Parish Sheriff’s office, the total number of crimes reported during the first quarter of 2003 is 439. This is a 3 percent increase over the 427 crimes reported for the same period last year. Although the report showed increases in thefts and assaults, no murders and rapes were reported. In addition, auto theft was down 36 percent. Last year, there were 44 vehicles reported stolen during the first three months of 2002 while only 28 were reported this year.

The data also showed the number of crimes, other than murder, rape, theft and assault, that were reported dropped by 20 percent during the first quarter of 2003.

St. John Sheriff Wayne L. Jones was “quite satisfied” with most of the crime statistics although he was not pleased about the 16 percent increase in thefts. The report stated 221 thefts were reported during the first quarter of this year while only 191 thefts were reported during the same period last year. This is an increase of 30 instances.

“I am proud of my department and the work they are doing to get the violent crime down,” Jones said.

However, according to Jones, 25 instances and 20 arrests were related to his department’s investigation of chemical thefts at the pump station. The water treatment chemical that was stolen, anhydrous ammonia, is used to produce methamphetamine.

“They (the Parish) hasn’t done anything and my patience is wearing thin,” Jones said. “We (the sheriff’s department) have better things to do than baby-sit a water tank”.

In addition to thefts, the report indicated that assaults were up 5 percent during the first quarter with 122 assaults reported between January and February reported this year compared to 116 last year.