Baton Rouge police chief: Non-fatal shootings on the rise

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Baton Rouge’s top cop maintains that a lower homicide rate does not tell the full picture of a city still confronting gun violence.

The number of people injured in shootings this year in the city is up 27 percent from last year, Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul said Monday.

“It does concern me,” Paul told the Baton Rouge Press Club. “Today’s non-fatal [shooting] could be tomorrow’s homicide.”

The chief’s remarks came roughly a week after a weekend that saw five non-fatal shootings, including one at a nightclub that injured half a dozen people.

The BRPD most recently investigated a shooting Saturday on Spanish Town Road, where a man was found dead in his front yard.

Despite the recent spate, Paul maintained that city police are prepared to handle summer, which historically sees more violent crimes than other seasons in Baton Rouge. A total of 27 officers are expected to graduate the department’s academy next month, the chief said.

The department also intends to increase downtown patrols and ask nightclubs to further their” safety initiatives.

“We want them to stay in business,” Paul said. “But we want them to do it right. We want to make sure the patrons who attend these establishments are safe when they go there.”

Paul also cited the BRPD’s efforts to tighten civilian ties in neighborhoods that have seen higher crime rates.

“We need the community to step forward,” Paul said.

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