Only weeks after East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Kip Holden announced in his annual State of the City address that murders were down 60 percent in Baton-pointing to statistics showing a decline in violent killings in the last several months of 2012. In January-police are reporting that there were 12 violent deaths in East Baton Rouge Parish. Nine of the twelve were shot as a direct result of homicide crimes, and an additional three were accidentally shot.

The number of murders in Baton Rouge so far in 2013 reportedly surpasses the number of murders so far in New Orleans, which consistently ranks as the most dangerous community in the United States. Baton Rouge has also been listed as one of the deadliest cities in the country, making the top 10 in murder rates in 2012-but it usually falls behind New Orleans.

The uptick in homicide is somewhat surprising, since the last four months of 2012 in Baton Rouge saw 12 murders, a relatively small number compared to usual numbers. According to authorities, it isn’t entirely clear what is causing the increase, but the trend is understood to be a national one.

According to East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore, the majority of the killings were group related. Members of a group were either victims or participants in some way with the murders. Drugs and domestic abuse were also common themes in the deaths.

The discouraging numbers show that Baton Rouge police have their work cut out for them.

Source: nola.com, “In Baton Rouge, deadly January sees major uptick in violent crimes,” Quincy Hodges, January 28, 2013