Last week, St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne released crime statistics from 2008, which show a marked decrease from the year before.
The number of reported crimes, which fell from 2,179 in 2007 to 2,094 in 2008, is now at its lowest total in over 12 years. Champagne attributed the decrease to two aggressive efforts undertaken by his office towards the end of 2008.
The first was a roving task force that took a zero tolerance approach to traffic violations, curfew and other minor offenses in areas where a high number of crimes occur. The second was when Champagne sent administrative officers from their desk to the streets, allowing them to assist patrol units in December.
Champagne says that decision helped his department head off holiday season crimes like theft and burglaries.
The low number of crimes reported this year is pretty remarkable when you compare the figure to 1996. That year, there were 2,834 crimes. The total has decreased steadily since then, falling to 2,179 reported crimes in 2007 and now only 2,094 crimes in 2008.
And while Champagne has had a lot to do with the drop in crime, it takes a lot of dedicated officers to make sure those numbers keep falling.
One such officer is deputy Ronald Newman, who was named the department’s deputy of the year for 2008.
Newman was answering a burglary call in Ormond when he came across a man with a backpack riding a bicycle in the area of two attempted break-ins. Fingerprints would reveal that man to be Ronald Lee Moore, who had been mistakenly released from a Maryland jail.
Moore, who was one of “America’s Most Wanted” fugitives, had been charged with a brutal rape where he allegedly used a cattle prod. Moore would later commit suicide at the Nelson Coleman Correctional Center.
Because of Champagne’s determination to keep criminals off the streets, and his deputies hard work, St. Charles Parish becomes a little safer every day.