Sheriff touts crime stats

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 7, 2004

By LEONARD GRAY Managing Editor

LAPLACE – St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff Wayne L. Jones took note of a 7 percent increase in crime incidence in seven statistical crime categories during October-December 2003.

A total of 399 incidents were reported in the final quarter of 2002, which increased to 426 in the final quarter of 2003.

However, comparing total crime in 2003 to 2002, Jones pointed out a 3 percent decrease, from 1,570 incidents in 2002 to 1,519 in 2003.

In response to a spike in the incidence of vehicle thefts, Jones has “taken a proactive approach in the last two weeks.”

His deputies are making more field contacts, stopping people on the street, especially if they are out at odd hours.

“We want to know who’s cruising the street at 3 a.m.,” the sheriff said.

In the fourth quarter of 2003, vehicle theft incidence stood at 42, a 27 percent increase over 2002’s 33 incidents. For the year in total, this actually improved, from 129 incidents in 2002 to 115 incidents in 2003.

In other categories, rape went from two incidents in October-December 2002 to one this quarter, a 50 percent decrease. For the entire year, it went from seven to one incident, an 86 percent decrease.

Robberies increased from nine incidents to 15, a 67 percent increase. For the entire year, this improved from 48 incidents to 35 incidents, a 27 percent decrease.

Assault increased from 104 incidents in the last quarter of 2002 to 129 this year, a 24 percent increase. For the year, this category went from 427 incidents to 388 incidents, a 9 percent improvement.

Burglary increased from 53 to 59 incidents, an 11 percent increase in the final quarter. For the year, this increased, from 207 incidents in 2002 to 237 incidents in 2003, a 14 percent increase.

Theft dropped from 198 incidents in 2002 to 179 incidents in 2003, a 10 percent decrease. For the year, this improved from 746 incidents in 2002 to 740 in 2003, a 1 percent improvement.

In other matters, Jones announced his plan to add four more deputies to the Road Division in July, when his new term of office begins. Plans for their use are to concentrate on traffic problems within area subdivisions, rather than on the main highways.

“Overall, am I generally satisfied? Yes, I am, but there’s always room for improvement,” Jones commented. “We’re going to keep on keeping on.”