BATON ROUGE, LA. (BRPROUD) — After the recent shootings in downtown Baton Rouge, the Baton Rouge Police Department is now having 24-hour police patrol.
In the early hours of mid-September, around 2 a.m., dozens of gunshots were fired off in downtown Baton Rouge.
One resident, Mia Rodriguez, says the shootings and crime have been concerning.
“The shootings were really concerning, and that was concerning to my family,” said Rodriguez.
Many residents, like Rodriguez, say downtown has been primarily safe, until the summertime.
BRPD officials say officers were not on patrol during the time of the shooting, their shifts end at 12 a.m. until 6 a.m.
Now after the recent incidents, the fifth district (downtown) is on 24-hour surveillance with full police patrol seven days a week.
BRPD spokesperson, L’Jean McKneely, says after a recent shift in the department and the new police academy graduates, they have enough manpower to patrol downtown.
McKneely says Chief Murphy Paul believes the time is now to add the extra surveillance.
“They’ve had incidents that have most recently happened in the downtown area,” says McKneely. “So, Chief Paul feels it’s important to add that 24-hour policing coverage.”
The manager of Courtyard Marriott in downtown Baton Rouge, Gary Jupiter, says he and other business owners and managers have been asking the department for 24-hour patrol for years.
Several businesses were damaged with broken windows from bullet holes in the last shooting in September. Jupiter says in order for the city to grow, it needs extra policing.
“I think it will be a deter from some of the bad actors from visiting our area,” says Jupiter. “It’s important that our downtown remains vibrant.”
Both Rodriguez and her friend Chris Callais agree the extra patrol will help the downtown area.
“You know I would prefer it,” says Rodriguez. “Cause I’m walking around with my friends watching over me.”
“It’s going to ultimately solve a lot of the crime down here,” says Callais.
24-hour patrol will start this Halloween weekend.