In our previous post, we noted that homicide rates in Baton Rouge have law enforcement officials concerned and looking for strong solutions. As we mentioned last time, much of the increase in crime is connected to illegal drugs operations made possible by an influx of New Orleans criminal culture following Katrina. At this point, though, Baton Rouge still has a lower homicide rate than New Orleans.

Many of the issues brought in by Katrina exacerbated problems that Baton Rouge was already facing. These include extreme poverty, high illiteracy and dropout rates, and broken families.

Easy access to guns and lack of conflict resolution skills are factors mentioned by those on the ground. Most of the guns involved are stolen in home burglaries.

Some have estimated that between 75 and 80 percent of the killings in Baton Rouge are related to drugs, especially crack cocaine and cocaine. Witness intimidation is a particularly concerning aspect of the new crime landscape.

Young black men make up the majority of both victims and perpetrators, sources say. Unfortunately, the violence troubling many black communities in Baton Rouge has spread to other Baton Rouge neighborhoods, causing many to fear for their safety.

Law enforcement is approaching the problem from a number of different angles, including consolidating resources, increasing officer presence, establishing municipal jails, police-run mentor programs and taking a harder stance on drugs.

It is hope that, in its efforts to curb the spread of violence in Baton Rouge, law enforcement officers and prosecutors respect the rights of those accused of serious crime.

Source: The Advocate, “High homicide rate plagues Baton Rouge,” Kimberly Vetter, February 28, 2012.