2021 stats show 19% increase in major crime in St. John Parish

Published 12:47 pm Friday, January 7, 2022

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LAPLACE — Major crime reported in St. John the Baptist Parish in 2020 increased by 19% from the previous year, annual crime statistics collected by the St. John Sheriff’s Office show.

Overall, 342 crimes were reported in St. John Parish in 2020, compared to 406 in 2021. The seven major crime categories are criminal homicide, forcible rape, robbery, assault, burglary, theft and auto theft.

There was a decrease in five of the seven categories: criminal homicide, forcible rape, robbery, assault and theft.

“The improved statistics are a result of citizens working with SJSO,” Sheriff Mike Tregre said. “I ask that citizens call 911 to report any suspicious activity.”

Criminal homicide decreased from four in 2020 to one in 2021.

“There was just one homicide this past year, and that was the result of a domestic violence case,” Sheriff Mike Tregre said. “An arrest was made within minutes.”

Forcible rape decreased with three cases reported in 2020 compared to one in 2021. Robbery dropped from 16 cases in 2020 to 13 cases in 2021.

“The robbery cases mostly involved repetitious perpetrators, and in many cases where arrests were made they were repeat offenders,” Sheriff Tregre said.

Also falling were the numbers of thefts with 56 reported in 2020 compared to 45 in 2021. “Technology advances have been a game changer,” Sheriff Tregre said. “We anticipate even better results with further advances in technology.”

Assaults decreased from 100 cases in 2020 to 94 in cases in 2021. “There is not much law enforcement can do in cases of fights or domestic violence,” he said. “The majority of the time law enforcement is not present when assaults take place.”

There was an increase in two categories: auto theft and burglary. Motor vehicle theft rose to 68 in 2021 compared to 52 in 2020. Motor vehicle thefts include golf carts, all terrain vehicles, boats, unreturned rental vehicles, and motorcycles. Burglaries increased from 111 in 2020 to 184 in 2021.

“For some time we have been asking citizens to secure their vehicles and remove valuables from their vehicles,” Sheriff Tregre said. “We also ask citizens to not leave a spare key in the vehicle. The newest crime trend is suspects walking neighborhoods pulling on door handles on vehicles. The majority of those arrested are repeat offenders.”

“A number of these vehicle thefts occurred at gas stations where the driver left the vehicle running at the pump or left their vehicle running in the driveway to warm up,” Sheriff Tregre said. “SJSO has made multiple arrests in vehicle theft cases.”

“As for burglaries, SJSO normally has a few a residential burglaries a month but after Hurricane Ida, there were 47 residential burglaries in one month,” he said. “Hurricane Ida left neighborhoods vacant with no street lighting or functioning crime cameras or residential cameras.”

Continuing education of officers will remain a priority in the SJSO’s efforts to fight crime in the community. “As sheriff, I will continue to provide training and resources to our deputies,” Sheriff Tregre said. “At some point this year, I plan to implement body cameras.”

Also, police service calls decreased from 46,762 in 2020 to 45,950 in 2021.