According to the Baton Rouge Police Department, while violent crimes-murder, rape, robbery-increased in 2012, the overall number of “major crimes” actually reduced. Major crimes, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting program, include not only murder, rape and robbery, but also manslaughter, assault, burglary, theft, auto theft and arson.

Overall, the number of “serious crimes” in Baton Rouge has dropped in nine of the past 12 years. That includes a 33 percent decrease since 2000, even though the city’s population has continued to grow.

According to experts, the murder rate represents the true indicator of violence in any city. In Baton Rouge, over half of last year’s killings occurred in the first half of 2012, meaning that there was a decrease in the second half of the year. This downward trend is attributed to concerted efforts to battle a concerning rise in violent crime in Baton Rouge, a trend that is in contrast to a slight downward trend on national scale over the last four or five years.

District Attorney Hillar Moore III has apparently said that no single agency or initiative can take sole credit for the decrease in killings late last year, but that community outreach efforts are most likely behind it. This is interesting, because police often like to point out how this or that initiative or program is responsible for a reduction in crime. This helps justify the way public dollars are spent, but the connections police draw aren’t always so clear, at least from a defense attorney’s perspective.

Source: The Advocate, “‘Major crime’ down in BR in ’12,” Jim Mustian, February 26, 2013