According to a new study conducted by researchers with Baton Rouge Area Violence Elimination (BRAVE), a program aiming to eliminate community violence, a large percentage of homicides in East Baton Rouge between September 2010 and October 2012 involved “known gang members” or gang-related violence.

Researchers found this after identifying 30 active gangs in East Baton Rouge Parish with more than 500 members and tracing involvement in homicides. About 43 percent of the 199 murders that occurred during that time were confirmed to be “gang-member involved murders.”

Another 12 percent of the homicides were found to likely have had gang members involved. This classification is used in homicides where the victim or suspects is a known gang member, and for cases where specific gang affiliation was undetermined but circumstances fit the criteria for gang-related violence.

According to the report, the issue is an important one, because the underlying assumption is that there are often group dynamics involved in cases where individuals commit violent crimes like murder. Identifying where group dynamics played a part can help to disrupt gang violence.

Baton Rouge’s street gangs range in size from four to 60 members, including between 580 and 647 altogether, the report estimated. Parish-wide, 26 of the 30 gangs operate within city limits.

Gang members who have been associated with the perpetration of a violent crime do well to contact a defense attorney early on. Even those who have not yet been charge do well to contact an attorney. Sometimes, getting an early start on a case can help to secure a more favorable outcome.

Source: The Advocate, “Researchers say street gangs linked to many BR murders,” Jim Mustian, March 27, 2013