SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Back in January we saw Shreveport Police Chief Ben Raymond and Mayor Adrian Perkins walking through the Caddo Heights neighborhood looking to hear more from residents about their concerns.
These grassroots walks aren’t anything new for the department, but Chief Raymond promised people would see more of him in the community. But as the grassroots walks and community policing have increased throughout the city under his leadership, has crime decreased?
“Crime has been going down statistically," Chief Raymond said. "Now it’s a really hard correlation to say crime’s going down because we’re doing these grassroots walks, although I think it probably contributes.”
Chief Raymond tries to attend as many of these walks as he can so that people can talk to him and hear their issues.
“A lot of citizens complain about just kind of the broken windows theory of their neighborhood," he said. "So they have a lot of litter, (or) maybe there’s one or two houses on their street that have broke down vehicles and they don’t clean up their yard.”
And that’s been one of James Smalls biggest problem about living in Caddo Heights.
“You gonna draw more crime because of the way things look," he said. "I mean if your yard and grass (are a mess), and (there’s a) mattress on the porch and bad trees, no drainage, just pot holes everywhere well you gonna create those type of people those criminals.”
Grassroots walks have taken place in Smalls’ neighborhood, but he feels they aren’t making much of a difference.
“Door to door, I don’t think it’s really happening," he said. "Nobody wants to get involved really. They not expressing their concerns.”
But Aretha Flakes feels the walks have been improving things in the neighborhood.
“It was rowdy and now it done quite down and like I said you don’t see so much activities going on and stuff like that," she said. "Nobody’s walking up to your car and knocking on it for change so yeah I’ve seen an improvement.”
Raymond plans to continue these walks and increase police patrols across the city, but he knows these are just the beginning steps when it comes to improving the quality of life for Shreveport residents.
“Going door to door is not going to solve the problem," he said. "So if I got a problem house in my neighborhood or one where they’re not keeping their yard up and their house up, me walking by their door and talking to them certainly’ not going to improve that but what it does is it gets the conversation started.”
Raymond says they have added a supplemental patrol program where officers that typically don’t wear uniforms or drive marked units go out once a month and patrol the streets.
He says he plans to continue having multiple grassroots walks each month and plans to continue having more community policing events like coffee with a cop.