St. Charles crime rate continues to drop

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 13, 2003

By LEONARD GRAY-Staff Reporter

HAHNVILLE – A continued downward trend in St. Charles Parish crime gives Sheriff Greg C. Champagne hope the trend will continue through the remainder of his second term of office.

A drop of 3.84 percent in the second quarter of 2003 is the lowest second-quarter report since Champagne took office.

“I thought we’d have a hard time surpassing last year, and that was a record year, with an 8 percent drop,” Champagne said.

The first quarter of 2003 showed a “minuscule” increase from the same period in 2002, but did not greatly concern Champagne, who saw it as the second-lowest crime rate in more than six years.

Champagne reported that the crime rate during the second quarter, April through June, dropped from 677 incidents to 651 incidents.

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports log seven index crimes, compiled for the national crime levels.

Murder went from no incidents last year to one this year. There were only three throughout 2002, with one incident during the previous quarter.

Rape incidents rose, from three incidents last year at this time to eight this year. There were a total of 13 during 2002, with one during the previous quarter.

Assault dropped from 223 incidents to 213 this year. There were a total of 934 during 2002, with 209 incidents during the previous quarter.

In taking note of the increase in rape cases, Champagne said, “Most often, the people know each other. It’s not the man in the bushes. And also, some are child abuse cases.”

Moving to property crimes, Champagne said, “We still have too much property crime. We want to make headway here. They are serial offenders and need to be dealt with.”

Robbery went up, from nine incidents last year to 14 instances this quarter. There were a total of 26 incidents last year, with eight during the previous quarter.

Burglary dropped from 117 incidents last year to 105 this year, during the second quarter. There were a total of 395 incidents last year, with 80 in the previous quarter.

Theft dropped from 301 incidents last year to 281 this year, during the second quarter. There were a total of 1,017 incidents last year, with 235 in the previous quarter.

Auto theft went up, from 24 incidents last year to 29 this year, during the second quarter. There were a total of 107 incidents last year, with 21 during the previous quarter.

“It’s going to be tough to improve on this,” Champagne said.