Crime on the minds of voters, poll finds

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 2, 2011

By David Vitrano


LAPLACE – The results of the Oct. 22 general elections are still resonating with voters across the River Parishes, especially in those areas where they chose change.

One of the biggest changes took place in St. John the Baptist Parish, where voters chose Mike Tregre as their next sheriff. He defeated incumbent and longtime Sheriff Wayne Jones.

When voters oust an incumbent, the reason is often some dissatisfaction with his or her job performance. With that in mind, last week L’Observateur asked visitors to its website what they wanted the top priority of the new sheriff’s administration to be.

As expected, crime garnered most of the votes.

More than half of those who voted in the poll thought the new sheriff should concentrate on drug-related crime in the parish. That category overlapped with another big vote getter. One-third of poll respondents felt the office needs to concentrate on violent crime.

Only 2 percent of respondents thought the office’s top priority should be non-violent crime.

Regarding the responses not related to crime, building a better relationship with the community garnered only 4 percent of the vote while strengthening ties to other governmental bodies such as the DA’s office fared even more poorly.

A full breakdown of results follows:

• 33 percent of respondents chose “Violent crime.”

• 53 percent of respondents chose “Drug-related crime.”

• 2 percent of respondents chose “Community relations.”

• 4 percent of respondents chose “Strengthening ties with other governmental organizations.”

• 6 percent of respondents chose “Other/ none of the above.”