St. Charles reports lowest crime statistics in sheriff’s tenure

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 7, 2007


Staff Reporter

HAHNVILLE – Consistent with a steady decline in reported crimes over a nine-year span, the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office announced its crime statistics for the first quarter of 2007 with a 7.4% decrease compared to the same time frame in 2006.

The 474 crimes was the lowest total during Sheriff Greg Champagne’s tenure, and followed a marked upturn in population. Last year’s first quarter total reported crimes were 512, substantially lower than a nine-year high of 670 in 1996.

The seven compiled crime categories include larceny theft, auto theft, burglary, robbery, assault, rape and murder. Three areas had more reported crimes than 2006, with one murder compared to none in 2006, eight robberies opposed to six and 198 assaults compared to 184.

Larceny thefts showed the most notable decrease, from 197 to 158 from 2006 to 2007. Auto thefts, burglary and rape saw minimal declines totaling 16 reported crimes.

2006 marked the second-lowest yearly total in the past nine years, with 2,283 crimes, higher only than 2005 when 2,180 crimes were reported. 1997 had the highest total in St. Charles Parish over the last nine years with 2,777.

&#8220I was very, very pleased we had a good quarter and I just hope that continues,” Sheriff Greg Champagne said.

Champagne said his office hasn’t changed its methods since the decline in crime.

&#8220We’re doing the same things that we’ve been doing. If we see something breaking out in an area, we’re proactive and look what’s going on and target our efforts in those particular locations,” he said. &#8220We’ve done a lot with drugs. We’ve beefed up our narcotics division. If you can arrest the right drug heads you can affect a lot of crime. It’s a multi-pronged front and we just try to cover it on all fronts.”

Champagne was not concerned about minimal murder and robbery increases, citing an insignificant rise in those numbers.

&#8220Either number is still low. There’s so few of those it doesn’t really make a difference. It’s the trends we look for,” he said.