Parish’s crime rate still low despite rises

Sheriff says 2017 rate second lowest in his time in office

Although crime numbers showed an increase in St. Charles Parish last year, Sheriff Greg Champagne said it’s the second lowest rate since he’s been in office.

“I am pleased to announce that 2017 crime statistics in St. Charles Parish reflect the second lowest crime numbers since I first took office in 1996,” Champagne said. “These numbers, however, do reflect a 6.89 percent increase over our 2016 crime statistics, which was our lowest and best year since 1996.”

Some 1,659 crimes were reported last year, up from 1,552 reported in 2016, according to FBI figures for the parish.

The biggest crime reductions reported were in assaults that fell to 646 last year, down from the previous year’s 683, and rapes down to three last year from four reported the previous year.

Increases were reported in murders, up by one last year compared to the three reported in 2016; robberies rising to 38 last year from the previous year’s 24; burglaries rising to 218 last year up from the previous year’s 188, thefts rising to 690 up from the previous year’s 613, and auto thefts nearly doubling to 60 from the previous year’s 37.

“When you hit an all-time low after 21 years, it is tough to improve upon,” Champagne said.

But Champagne said the numbers reflect the parish’s low crime rate, as well as serve as a guide toward directing the best use of services.

“We review all crime statistics monthly if not more often and tailor our efforts on an ongoing basis and implement enforcement actions as needed to deter crime,” he said. “Overall, I am very pleased with the low crime rate we continue to provide to St. Charles Parish residents. We will always strive for improvement.”

The Sheriff’s Office releases Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) regarding seven index crimes compiled for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This information consists of crimes reported to the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office from July 1, 1996 – December 2017.

But the sheriff expressed concern about how the state’s early release program might have affected these statistics.

“I am still unsure what effect the governor and Legislature’s Criminal Justice Reinvestment Act, which authorized the release of literally thousands of allegedly nonviolent offenders across the state during the past few months, has had upon our crime rate,” Champagne said. “I am concerned about this and the role it may have played.”

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