Police Hope to Avoid Summer Increase in Violent Crime
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Alexandria, La. (May 21, 2021) — Summer time, with its hotter temperatures and kids out of school, is traditionally a time police see an increase in crime, especially violent crime. Alexandria has already seen increased instances of violent crimes in 2021, including two homicides this month involving juveniles. As the nation slowly eases away from COVID-19 restrictions, national experts are predicting an additional increase in violent crime this summer.
“Unfortunately, Alexandria, like many cities across the state and across the country, has seen above average levels of violence already this year,” said Interim Police Chief Ronney Howard. “These are all senseless tragedies. Of particular concern are the number of cases involving guns and juveniles, like the incident we saw on Sunday and an incident the week before. Too many parents and too many families have already lost loved ones. We know summer is coming, and we are asking everyone, from parents and pastors to community volunteers and other neighborhood leaders to do everything they can to urge people to remain calm and to refrain from using violence to settle disagreements. We’ve got to learn to talk things out, not shoot it out.”
To date, Alexandria has had 38 shootings with 16 resulting in deaths. FBI crime reports show what analysts are calling a “murder wave” in U.S. cities that started in the last three months of 2020 is carrying forward into 2021. A Wall Street Journal report notes a growing body of research shows a pattern behind the rise: It has been concentrated in relatively few poor neighborhoods, typically Black and Hispanic, with persistent histories of violence.
Howard said the incidents in Alexandria are in line with what officials are seeing across the country. “We will be focusing our community policing efforts in these areas,” Howard said. “We want the public to know that we are here and our officers have training to be able to help deescalate arguments. If you are aware of a situation that you think could get out of hand, let us know and we can try to help the parties work it out. We would much rather get a call from someone concerned about preventing something from getting out of hand than responding to a call after shots have been fired.”
Howard also encourages parents and those who care for teenagers to be on the lookout for weapons, especially guns. “There is no reason for a juvenile to have a handgun out on the street,” Howard said. “Please, if you find one, take it and lock it up. Make sure any guns or weapons you have in your home are safely and properly stored where they can’t be accessed by children.”
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