According to BRPD Police Chief Murphy Paul, murders, shootings and other incidents involving violent crime in Baton Rouge is skyrocketing.
In an effort to bring that percentage down, Paul is using a new initiative by visiting local barbershops.
“Things like going to barbershops… Where we know young black men get their haircuts and have conversations, no cameras, no media. Let’s have honest dialogue about our responsibility on how to address this crime problem.”
During Chief Paul’s address at the Press Club this afternoon, Paul revealed that these incidents are part of a socio-economic epidemic, targeting young black males.
Chief Paul went on to reveal that last year 83 percent of the suspects in homicides were African-American males.
Violent crime in the black community is a problem stemming from the war on drugs.
“The crack cocaine epidemic could have been different, because the reality is we have not rebounded from it, that’s why we face some of the issues with some of the black males we’re dealing with,” Paul explained.
That’s why they’re out on the streets with organizations like Truce, a private organization funded to help to reduce violence and crime committed by young people.
This year so far, officials have made arrests in 71 percent of those homicides, a number in which the chief is pleased with. However, the department has a shortage of nearly 60 officers.
“Police officers have to come in on their days off, and that is a challenge. Once we get those numbers up, our goal is that police officers won’t have to work as often and they can be rested up and spend that time with their family,” said Paul.
Chief Paul thinks this will help solve the long term problem, but in the short term, they need to hire 60 officers.