Surrounded by fellow law enforcement and prosecutors, St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne announced a 12.4 percent drop in the parish’s crime rate in 2018 when compared to 2017, hitting a 22-year low.
“It’s not one thing,” Champagne said. “First off, we’ve got a great population of people here. We’ve got high employment, low unemployment, probably an above-average-educated population, a good high medium wage … all that plays a role in it. But, foremost, I can say without a doubt is the dedication and training of our detectives and deputies.
“We’ve got an academy next door and started a new group this week. We have focused on training like never before. We instituted a leadership program. It is paying off dividends.”
Champagne said it comes down to being able to “police smarter.”
Champagne said the parish’s overall number of crimes was 1,454 last year, or 12.4 percent down from the previous year’s 1,659 crimes. The numbers are based on FBI crime statistics.
“This represents nearly a 50 percent drop in crime steady over the past 20 years,” he said. “This is an amazing thing.”
Overall, the sheriff said contributors to the crime decline included the dedication and training of the police force, effective investigations, cooperation with the parish’s District Attorney’s office, technology and citizen involvement.
Champagne, accompanied by parish District Attorney Joel Chaisson II, praised the relationship between his office and the DA’s office, saying it “has never been better” and has helped to prosecute serious crimes and repeat offenders and reflects in these numbers.
“It’s making a difference and benefitting the people of this parish,” the sheriff said.
Champagne also praised his staff from deputies to jail guards for also contributing to the parish’s safety.
Of the statistics, the sheriff outlined homicides falling from four in 2017 to two last year, robberies decreasing from 38 to 22 and assaults falling from 646 to 588.
Burglaries also fell by 113, thefts dropped by 92 and there were five fewer auto thefts in 2018 compared to 2017.
“This represents nearly a 50 percent drop in crime steady over the past 20 years. This is an amazing thing.” – Sheriff Greg Champagne
Champagne said the parish’s homicide rate is probably one of the lowest in southeast Louisiana.
“We’ve got a good, peaceful population so luckily our homicide rate is low,” he said.
Of the seven crime categories in this report, Champagne said rape was the only one with an increase. There were three rapes in 2017 and five in 2018.
“Sadly, if you look back over the years, a lot of them are interfamily sexual abuse cases,” he said.
A substantial contributor to the parish’s lower theft numbers includes his office’s public awareness efforts when it was determined many stolen items were taken from unlocked vehicles.