Lafayette residents should consider themselves lucky for a number of reasons: nice homes, great restaurants, neighbors who care and a police force that just loves to locate and arrest criminals.
Regular readers will know that Lafayette PD takes a proactive stance on crime deterrence and believes in reaching out to neighbors to help them do just that. According to Chief Eric Christensen’s Annual Report to the City, presented to civic leaders and available on the city’s web site, the formula appears to be working.
“When looking at the numbers, 2016 was a year where we experienced an overall 20 percent reduction in the number of reported crimes within the City,” Christensen wrote in his report to the city. “The greatest reduction was in the number of auto burglaries, with an overall reduction of 57 percent from our numbers from 2015.”
Something to celebrate, given how the citizenry reacted here and elsewhere to what seemed to be frequent and unabated forays into their cars and glove boxes by miscreants unafraid of the consequences. Lafayette police examined the problem, identified the methods favored by thieves – and launched a campaign to warn and educate the public they say appears to have worked well.
“While the reduced number of crimes is certainly something to celebrate, it’s a trend that has been repeated in neighboring communities as well,” Christensen said in subtle reference to the successes of neighboring jurisdictions, many of which have embraced the use of cameras and license plate reader systems adopted in Lafayette.
Along with his department’s successes, Christensen was quick to point out areas of concern.
“As you examine the crime statistics, there are a couple of crime categories where we can make some improvement,” he wrote. “First, the number of auto thefts that we experienced in 2016 is still too high. Many of the vehicles that were stolen were the result of individuals leaving their keys in their vehicle – creating a tempting target. Likewise, the number of Identity Theft cases are also growing, which is primarily a result of people stealing mail from the mailboxes of our homes.”
The chief also cited a growing number of contacts between members of his department and an apparently surging homeless population, drawn to the area in recent months for several different reasons. Christensen reported that his officers have received extra training in identifying and talking with people whose problems may be outwardly difficult to discern so that appropriate care can be summoned and the chance of confrontation lessened.
Check out the whole report on the city’s site to drill down into the chief’s numbers and pick up some useful information on local crime and how to fight it.