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Louisiana’s biggest cities see big drop in police arrests

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(The Center Square) – Police departments across the country have reported an astounding drop in the number of arrests over the past 10 years.

Tracking arrest information from the four largest cities in Louisiana provided varied results in terms of transparency. New Orleans, Lafayette and Baton Rouge provided data on the number of arrests online. Shreveport was the only city that did not post recent arrest data online. That city’s data on arrests is updated through 2021.

New Orleans police have seen arrests drop from 39,097 in 2010 to 6,407 in 2023. That’s according to its online dashboard that provides annual arrests data broken down by the arresting agency, the charges and the arrested person’s race and gender. The city’s 2022 Annual Comprehensive Financial Report (the most recent released) shows Driving While Intoxicated arrests have dropped from 1,392 in 2013 to 169 in 2022.

Lafayette police arrests have dropped from 14,460 in 2013 to 9,135 in 2023. However, arrests in 2023 were up from 5,063 in 2022. That data came from the city’s 2023 Annual Comprehensive Financial Report.

The city of Baton Rouge posts its arrest data for the past few years on its “Crime Trends Analysis” website. It also posts arrest data in its 2022 Annual Comprehensive Financial Report, the most recent year released. That shows arrests have dropped from 16,458 in 2013 to 8,659 in 2022.

The city of Shreveport does provide annual crime reports online as far back as 2016, with 2021 the most recent.

For the city of Shreveport, arrests went from 11,473 in 2016 to 5,770 in 2021.

Shreveport also didn’t submit data to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Crime Date Explorer, which tracks arrests by incident for many cities. The FBI compiles the data from information provided by participating municipalities.

Shreveport Police didn’t respond to questions asked about reporting arrest data to the FBI. They did respond to a request for the arrest information by filing a Freedom of Information Act request for that data on behalf of The Center Square.

The Center Square reviewed spending and employment in the police departments from 2019 – a year before the pandemic and the defund the police movement started with the murder of George Floyd – to 2024.

In New Orleans, total spending on police has dropped from $192 million in 2019 to a projected $186.2 million in 2024. The city had 1,468 budgeted positions in the police department in 2019 and that dropped to 1,277 in 2022.

The New Orleans Police department reported that violent crime in 2024 as of March 4 was down 34% as compared to 2023.

The city of Baton Rouge budgeted 882 positions in the police department in 2019 and that increased to 889 positions in 2024. Funding increased from $93.5 million in 2019 to $107 million in 2024.

The city of Baton Rouge provides a crime dashboard with weekly updates. It reported actual homicides were up 71% as of May 6 as compared to the previous year and assaults and batteries were up 19% and theft had increased 10%.

The city of Lafayette decreased the number of “police personnel and officers” from 334 in 2019 to 318 in 2024. However, total positions in the police department have increased from 349 in 2019 to 364 in 2024, including administrative and clerk positions. Total funding for police has gone from $34.76 million in 2019 to $48.02 million in 2024.

The Lafayette Parish crime data is updated only to 2020.

In Shreveport, spending on police increased from $59.96 million in 2019 to $71.8 million in 2024. The city increased the number of positions in the police department from 715 in 2019 to 770 positions in 2024.

The city of Shreveport’s crime data was updated to November 2023. It stated that homicides had increased from 48 to 77 from 2022 to 2023, a 60% increase, while rape (-12%), robberies (-6%) and aggravated assaults (-5%) had dropped over that same time period.

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