Doubled patrols will continue in St. John

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Editor and Publisher

LAPLACE – St. John Sheriff Wayne Jones reported on Tuesday that almost no criminal activity had been seen here in the wake of Hurricane Gustav, thanks to doubled patrols throughout the parish.

That strong police presence continued today, as residents are still not home following the evacuation for the storm, and will be bolstered today with the addition of the National Guard to the region.

“We doubled up on our patrols right from the beginning of the storm and are continuing that now,” Jones reported to L’Observateur late Tuesday, following the hurricane that had raced through the area all day on Monday.

The result is that only two arrests were made in the last few days around the time of the storm.

Jones said they had only one attempted break-in to a residence that had been left vacant, but the Sheriff’s Office caught that suspect and made an arrest.

The only other arrest was to a vagrant in the region and had nothing to do with an attempt at robbery to a home that was left alone.

The National Guard was beginning to show up at the parish administrative complex on Tuesday night and was expected to send an additional 20 soldiers or more to bolster patrols throughout the area.

St. John Parish President Bill Hubbard has still not given the go-ahead for residents to return to the parish, since basic services are not all back in operation. Additionally, electric power will not be restored for days, or even weeks in some cases, to every home in the region.

“Our main focus right now is to protect people’s property,” Jones said. “Our units are staying vigilant with a lot of steady patrols throughout the areas where people live.”

The traffic light system on Airline Highway and some side streets is out of service with the loss of electricity to the region. Stop signs have been put at all major intersections.

However, Maj. Mike Tregre, public information officer for the Sheriff’s Office, said that when Katrina forced the same situation three years ago, accidents actually went down on the major highways in St. John Parish since drivers were apparently exercising even more care than normal due to the emergency.