St. John Crime up; Sheriff points to decreases in murder

Published 12:11 am Saturday, July 25, 2015

LAPLACE — Reducing the homicide rate is the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office’s No. 1 priority in 2015, according to Sheriff Mike Tregre.

There were eight criminal homicides in 2014 in St. John, according to crime statistics supplied by the Sheriff’s Office.

“As of this time, there are no homicides in St. John Parish,” Tregre said last week when discussing crime statistics for the first half of 2015. “Crime cameras, better training, restructuring shifts and manpower, along with tips from citizens, were key reasons for this reduction.”

Tregre’s office released crime statistics July 17, comparing numbers from January through June in 2014 to January through June 2015. L’OBSERVATEUR requested the same numbers for July through December 2014, which were provided Thursday.

The numbers show altogether there were 1,544 reports of criminal homicide, forcible rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft in 2014.

Through the first half of 2015, the total number stands at 793, which if duplicated over the second half 2015 would increase crime totals by 42.

“Although we had an overall total increase of 9 percent (in the first six months of 2015 compared to the same time frame in 2014,) five of the seven major crime categories had a reduction compared to the previous year,” Tregre said.

There were five rapes reported in 2014, compared to one reported in the first six months of 2015, and Tregre saw positives in the reduction.

He hopes more females will take advantage of his department’s Rape Aggression Defense Classes.

“It’s a very good class that helps females … defend themselves from an attacker,” Tregre said. “The next class is scheduled for August 2015. For more information for the dates of the next class go to or contact SJSO Public Relations Division at 985-652-7058 for more information.”

Year breakdowns:

• There were 40 robberies reported in 2014 and 21 reported in the first half of 2015.

• There were 167 assaults reported in 2014 and 76 reported in the first half of 2015.

• There were 298 burglaries reported in 2014 and 131 reported in the first half of 2015.

“Investigators are finding that a number of the burglaries are being committed by the same individuals,” Tregre said. “The suspects learn from what leads to their capture and modify their techniques, making it more difficult for them being captured again. Additional crime cameras and home surveillance security systems have become a huge part of our crime-solving methods. Vehicles being left unlocked are still problematic.”

• There were 298 burglaries reported in 2014 and 131 reported in the first half of 2015.

• There were 965 larcenies (thefts) reported in 2014 and 541 reported in the first half of 2015.

• There were 61 motor vehicle thefts reported in 2014 and 23 reported in the first half of 2015.

“Highly visible patrols by SJSO have led to a decrease in motor vehicle thefts,” Tregre said.

“Strategically located license plate recognition cameras and crime cameras have attributed to this decrease.”

The most popular items stolen this year in St. John are bicycles and cell phones.

“We are asking citizens to register bicycles on the SJSO Bicycle Registry Program,” Tregre said, adding theft cases have increased because of more shoplifting arrests made in 2015.