Sheriff: St. Charles crime decreasing

Published 11:45 pm Friday, August 29, 2014

Reports of crime in St. Charles Parish have decreased during the first half of 2014 by 20.1 percent when compared to this same period in 2013.

During 2013, there were 1,144 reported index crimes from January through June compared to 914 in 2014.

The Sheriff’s Office releases Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) regarding seven index crimes compiled for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This information consists of crimes reported to the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office monthly.

Individual crime categories break down as follows for the first six months of 2014:

• Three homicides were reported in 2013 as opposed to one in 2014.

• Three rapes were reported in 2013 with five during 2014.

• Nineteen robberies in the first six months of 2013 with 12 being reported in 2014 — a 36.8 percent decrease.

• Assaults dropped from 443 to 338 — a 23.7 percent decrease.

• Burglaries fell from 168 to 111 — a 34 percent decrease.

• Thefts fell from 475 to 398 — a 16.2 percent decrease.

• Auto thefts increased from 33 to 49 as a result of a New Orleans theft ring that entered St. Charles Parish in the early part of 2014 with a key perpetrator subsequently being arrested and sentenced to prison.

Success in crime reduction is St. Charles Parish is the result of several key strategies paying off:

• The visibility of our patrol division is second to none in the region.

• Deputies are aggressively executing warrants and attachments, reducing the backlog in this area and taking known criminals off the streets.

• The narcotics division is aggressively responding quickly to citizens’ tips and going after drug traffickers. More citizens have confidence to provide valuable information about possible drug trafficking in their neighborhoods.

• The utilization of social media such as Facebook and email to provide information has increased. Since property crime is connected to drug abuse and trafficking, the results are positive.

Detectives are using modern technology to recognize emerging crime trends and quickly acting to stop would-be serial perpetrators.

Quality cases are being made providing prosecutors with an enhanced ability to prosecute serious and repeat offenders. A good working relationship now with the district attorney’s office is resulting in increased sentences for chronic offenders.

The increased use of technology, such as home surveillance cameras, is deterring would-be criminals and providing investigators with evidence needed to quickly identify perpetrators and make arrests.

An overall willingness on the part of citizens to be vigilant against and quickly report possible criminal activity also has a positive impact. Programs such as The SCSO Citizen’s Academy are playing an important role in educating residents.

Extensive training opportunities pave the way for professional, effective, safer and innovative deputies.

The various crime prevention and apprehension strategies along with the reduction of crime are allowing us to be on offense as opposed to defense in fighting crime. Criminals being on defense is a good thing for us and the people of St. Charles Parish.

Greg Champagne is sheriff of St. Charles Parish.