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Following a national trend, levels of major crimes have been dropping in Louisiana since 2010, according to FBI and Missouri State Highway Patrol statistics.
That’s a fortunate trend and a reflection of the relative safety of living in Louisiana, according to Police Chief Rich Hughes.
But Hughes knows the increase could also be a string of luck, despite the police force’s use of statistics to target crime times and areas.
“It fluctuates, it always will,” Hughes said. “We’re out there doing our job and having an impact but it could be socioeconomic factors” that push the numbers lower or higher in any given year.
People may not want to commit a crime in an economically good time, fearing they will lose what they have, Hughes said. Tough times could produce desperation crime.
While major crimes like homicide, rape, aggravated assault and theft are down, petty crimes remain strong in Louisiana, Hughes said.
Thefts from vehicles and gasoline “drive-offs” have recently increased. Gasoline drive-offs go up every time there is a large increase in the cost of fuel, Hughes said.
The thefts from vehicles can be cut by people simply locking their cars, Hughes said. That also goes for their homes.
“The world is changing,” Hughes said. “Crime doesn’t skip small towns.”
That was proven in 2010 when Alicia Maier was kidnapped from her front yard by a man who held her for a day but fortunately abandoned her in the St. Louis area.
Lousiana’s senior citizens and others are also increasingly exposed to scams, Hughes said.
“Anything promised that seems too good to be true,” should trigger a resident to call police at 754-4021, he said.
“Never cash something for anyone else,” either. It could easily be a scam.
Statistics of resolved major crimes from 2008 through Mid-May of this year show sustaining numbers in property crime like theft, until the recent downturn, and almost no violent crimes like rape and homicide.
Two forcible rapes have occurred during that time frame, one in 2008 and another in 2011.
The last homicide recorded in Louisiana was in 2008, Hughes said.
Tommy L. Harrison was originally charged with second degree murder for allegedly beating Richard L. “Skip” Marshall to death with a baseball bat in a Louisiana alley. A Lincoln County jury found Harrison guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
The one constant violent crime in Louisiana has been aggravated assault, although those numbers have fluctuated wildly.
Only four aggravated assaults have occurred this year and there were none in 2012.
However, there were 16 in 2011 and 20 in 2010. That dipped again to 12 in 2009 and six in 2008.
Property crimes through the 2008-mid-2013 time frame are punctuated by burglaries and larceny thefts.
There have been three burglaries so far this year, but only one was committed in 2011.
In 2010 there were five burglaries, two in in 2010, four in 2009 and eight in 2008.
There were 13 larceny thefts in 2012, 16 in 2011, 25 in 2010, 18 in 2009 and 25 in 2008.
Only three vehicle thefts occurred in the period, two in 2010 and one in 2009.
No arson cases have occurred this year, but there were two in 2009 and one each in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012.