BATON ROUGE, La. (LOCAL 33) (FOX 44) — The Baton Rouge Police Department counts 129 non-fatal shootings within city limits this year through July 5, a tally that indicates the department’s growing interest in tracking the crimes.
“Law enforcement and technology as a whole is forever changing,” BRPD spokesman Sgt. L’Jean McKneely told BRProud.com Wednesday. “As it changes, we change.”
The BRPD counted 193 non-deadly shootings citywide in 2018, when department officials said they began tracking the statistics on their own. Police hope collecting these numbers will give officers a better sense of where to focus patrols.
“Gathering this data is beneficial to us, because we can push our officers out to specific locations in an attempt to curb the type of action that’s happening out there,” McKneely said.
The release of the non-fatal shooting data follows a public records request from East Baton Rouge Parish Councilman Matt Watson.
While non-fatal shootings are violent crimes in their own right, law enforcement leaders have said the incidents can also signal wider troubles.
“It’s a baseline, an indicator of violence in a community,” East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore told BRProud.com Wednesday.
“Today’s non-fatal could be tomorrow’s homicide,” BRPD Chief Murphy Paul told the Press Club of Baton Rouge in early July.
City officials argue the BRPD’s data collections are still too primitive to glean larger trends on non-fatal shootings, but they hope the coming years will provide figures to help them crack down on gun violence.
“It’s something that’s needed,” said Moore, praising the department. “I really appreciate they’re doing that. I think it’s good for Baton Rouge.”
The BRPD defines a non-fatal shooting as a case when a bullet strikes a person without causing death. Events of shots fired into the air or elsewhere do not count.