SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — Last year proved to be one of the safest years in Shreveport history.
That’s part of the message city officials delivered during a news conference Monday morning at Government Plaza.
Mayor Adrian Perkins and Police Chief Ben Raymond reported an 8 percent drop in violent crime in 2019.
That’s 16 percent below Shreveport’s 50-year average, according to figures provided by the city.
The sharpest decline — 29 percent — came in homicides when compared to the previous year.
That's not all.
Perkins and Raymond also announced that the number of something called Part I crimes dropped to the lowest point since 1975. Those offenses include everything from violent crime to burglary, and auto theft to arson.
Perkins put the crime statistics in some historical context. “When compared to 1989, the highest year for Part I crimes on record, it’s a 60 percent decline.”
But the mayor said we should not get lost in all the numbers and instead focus on the lives they represent.
“This means with fewer homicides, there are fewer children that have to bury parents and fewer parents that have to bury their children.”
When asked how he would respond to people being skeptical about these impressive crime statistics, Raymond said: “Don’t be!
"We have to report these numbers to the FBI. We’re not cooking the books in any way. In 50 years, we can show you the numbers we’ve reported; and the facts are the facts.”
The city also reported that the rate at which it clears or solves homicides jumped by 19 percent in 2019. That puts Shreveport’s homicide clearance rate at 73 percent.
Perkins credits several factors for lowering Shreveport crime in 2019. Among them is community policing, which involves police building relationships with people before crime may strike later in that area.
“And another one, it was just good old0-fashioned police work, as well.”
Raymond said patrol officers responded to more than 200,000 calls for service in 2019 “yet still had time to be proactive and prevent additional crimes from occurring.”
Raymond also credits local, state and federal law enforcement agencies with greatly helping Shreveport police with the drop in crime.
“Every law enforcement entity that has jurisdiction within the city of Shreveport has helped with special operations and countless daily investigations, which took criminals off our streets and prevented more crime from occurring.”