Lafayette Police Chief Talks Back To School, Crime Cameras
Lafayette Police will seek to force drivers to become more aware of their surroundings and to reduce the number of distraction with the launch of its annual "Give the Kids a Brake" campaign.
Police chief Jim Craft, who joined "Nathan & Bernie in the Morning," said officers equipped with radar guns will be placed at every school zone when school starts Aug. 12. The presence of those officers would also serve to "slow traffic--slow down and be aware that there may be children that may dart out in the street or cross the street not at a designated crosswalk."
Crime Stats Up In July
Though crime stats in particular categories were up in July compared to the previous month and the same time frame last year, Craft said "it's not a time for people to panic."
"When you say 70 percent increase or 50 percent increase, it sounds so big," Craft said, "but...large percentages--small numbers."
According to crime statistics obtained by the Acadiana Advocate, 24 armed robberies were reported within Lafayette in July. That was up from 14 in June and 16 in July 2013. Many of those armed robberies remained under investigation, while some were suspended.
"During the summer months, we'll see a spike, and usually it's convenience stores," Craft said. Many times a single suspect is responsible for "quite a few" of the crimes, Craft said.
Craft is seeking approval for the purchase of nearly $700,000 to expand the city's crime cameras program and to place these cameras in "high risk neighborhoods." Two members of the City-Parish Council, Brandon Shelvin and Kenneth Boudreaux, have expressed interest in the program, saying their constituents live in those high crime areas.
Crime cameras have "aided the officers in Boston for the Boston Marathon--they helped solve that crime," Craft said. "The Mickey Shunick case was solved in part by some video evidence."
Craft said cameras are already used in Downtown Lafayette, and they are used extensively during such festivals as Festival International.
Officers would be able to access the video feed from these cameras from the laptop computers inside their patrol cars, Craft said.
To listen to the full interview with Craft, click on the 'Play' button below.