BATON ROUGE- Crime statistics released by Baton Rouge Police today for the first four months of the year paint a disturbing picture of what's unfolding so far inside the city limits of Baton Rouge.
Homicides are up 80 percent compared to the same time last year. From January to April of 2016, there were ten homicides. From January to April of 2017, there were 18.
According to Baton Rouge Police, extra enforcement is happening now. The majority of the murders so far have been drug related, and narcotics enforcement is currently fanning out. Criminologists say you have to look past just enforcement but also get into the deeper issue as to what's causing the problems.
"It's easy to point to a number," Criminology professor Paul Guidry said. "But, it's more complicated when you point to the variables associated with the number. Some people need to talk about the institutional factors that come into play when it comes to crime."
Baton Rouge Police said work is being done to reduce those numbers now.
"Our detectives are working overtime," Jonny Dunnam with Baton Rouge Police said. "Our street crimes units are out in those specific areas where we are seeing an increase, and we're trying to get more uniform patrol officers to patrol those areas."
Meanwhile, Guidry believes the emotional toll from the Great Flood of 2016, plus other factors like displacement and educational concerns weigh in to the larger picture of what's causing the issues.
"Let's look at what's causing the crime problem in Baton Rouge," Guidry said. "No doubt part of it has to deal with the education system, health care, the government and even law enforcement. You can dismiss it all you want, but crime is on the rise at least in homicides in East Baton Rouge, and we need to figure out what's attributing to that."
Baton Rouge Police say they currently have a homicide clearance rate above the national average. Right now, more than half of the homicides have been solved this year.