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Law and Criminal Justice

DATA: Lafayette Sees More Theft, Less Of Other Major Crimes In First Half Of 2016

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Lafayette Police Department

At the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016, Lafayette leaders announced several initiatives aimed at stemming the drug use that fuels a significant portion of the major crimes committed in the city.

Through six months of the year, crime is down about three percent from the first half of 2015, though still well above levels from 2010 and 2011.

According to data received by WBAA from the Lafayette Police Department and from a website where the department sends its data to be mapped, the number of robberies, assaults with a deadly weapon, automobile thefts and burglaries all declined, year-over-year.

But within those numbers are a few trouble signs. The number of thefts in the community -- a crime LPD Lieutenant Brian Gossard says is strongly correlated to drug activity -- is up slightly. And January saw the largest number of auto thefts, 31, of any non-summer month since at least 2010.

"Drug use, and abuse, and dealing is tied into a lot of more minor, lower-level crimes," Gossard says.

"We haven't laid out 'we want a specific agg[ravated] assaults down by 10-percent' because we can't control some of these things," Gossard says. "But we're definitely going to be working hard to affect what we can affect."

However, aggravated assaults have seen the steepest decline of any major crime -- down by about a third from the same time a year ago. However, a portion of that decline comes from just three reported assaults with a weapon in June -- the smallest number of any month since the start of the decade.

Gossard says the June numbers are still preliminary and are subject to change by the department's records division, so the June aggravated assault total could still climb. In the month of June, since 2010, Lafayette has seen an average of more than 20 such crimes.

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