Shreveport police chief, mayor say initiatives have reduced violent crime

Published: Aug. 17, 2017 at 3:06 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 17, 2017 at 7:29 PM CDT
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(Source: Eric Pointer/KSLA News 12)
(Source: Eric Pointer/KSLA News 12)
(Source: Eric Pointer/KSLA News 12)
(Source: Eric Pointer/KSLA News 12)

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Shreveport's mayor and police chief say crime fighting initiatives implemented over the last 2 months have already resulted in fewer homicides and other forms of violent crime.

At a news conference early Thursday afternoon, SPD Chief Alan Crump shared statistics saying violent crime was down a total of 25% for the month of June, when the crime-fighting initiatives were first announced. Crump also said they saw a 10 percent decrease in violent crime in July and homicides overall for July are down 50 percent compared to last year.

However, Crump says auto thefts were up 37 percent in July over last year, partly because people are leaving their vehicles open and unlocked

"Just that extra step to lock your vehicle. Just that extra step to turn the ignition off, take the key out and go, will very well save that vehicle from being stolen or save it from being broken into because a lot of these are crimes of opportunity."

And the mayor agreed.

"That has to happen. When you go to Dallas or Houston and you go to a shopping center you don't leave stuff, you don't leave your laptop sitting on the seat because you know not to do that. So we're asking the people of Shreveport to do the same thing."

The chief did clarify that they are not blaming people for leaving their vehicles unlocked, but he says remembering to lock them could help.

Both Crump and Mayor Ollie Tyler thanked the city council for allocating an additional $150,000 to pay for overtime and keep more officers on the street, and the mayor said she is including funds in her upcoming executive budget for raises for officers in hopes of improving the city's recruitment efforts in order to become more competitive with other cities.

"Hopefully we'll be able to give some raises to all the employees and give some additional raises to our Shreveport police officers so that we can try to make sure we close that gap in terms of recruitment and be more competitive," said Mayor Tyler.

The mayor went on to say she hasn't had those conversations yet, so she is unsure how much money she will try to include for the raises.

Crump also said they have seen a 4% decrease in violent crime since Operation Long Haul started July 6.

The operation studies trends and sends out more officers to areas with more crime. So far, the operation has resulted in 19 arrests, more than 150 traffic stops and 77 traffic tickets.

Chief Crump says Operation Long Haul is a direct result of the money allocated from City Council for officer overtime pay.

"It has been allowing us to consistently run those operations and they have been effective," said Chief Crump. "I commend the mayor and her staff for constantly trying to look at ways in this challenging economy to give pay raises to all city employees and I hope her and her team are success in being able to do that."

The chief's goals, according to a 2017 Crime Fighting Strategies document, are to reduce criminal activities in all areas of the community, strengthen relationships between police and citizens to build trust in the community and have greater efficiency in utilizing resources and in providing a safe environment for citizens.

There was an awkward moment toward the end of the news conference when the Mayor Tyler tried to stop Shreveport/Caddo Parish Crime Stoppers Executive Director Jim Taliaferro from responding to questions about the non-profit organization.

It appears the mayor was asked a question regarding if the city can give more money to Crime Stoppers, an independent non-profit organization.

Mayor Tyler replied that she could not speak on behalf of the organization.

In response, Taliaferro approached the podium in an effort to offer an answer, but not before this awkward exchange:

Mayor: If we had the funding.  I mean everybody says that to the city, and we only have so many dollars and we have so many needs so we think if Crime Stoppers needed help they would come to us, but that hasn't happened.

Jim Taliaferro: Let me let the mayor off the hook a little bit here...

Mayor:  (interjecting) No, really?

Jim Taliaferro:  Yes ma'am I am going to do that.

Mayor:  No, no no...Are you with Crime Stoppers?

Jim Taliaferro: Yes ma'am, I am the Executive Director.

Mayor:  Let me let you speak then…

Jim Taliaferro: Thank you so much. I really want to let everybody know that Crime Stoppers is a non-profit organization. We do have our own funding and I do appreciate the questions and matter of fact we are working in fact with the police department on the latest initiative stop the silence, end the violence.

Following the news conference, the mayor apologized to Taliaferro. Representatives from the mayor's office explained the mayor does in fact, know Taliaferro, but she did not know his position.

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