SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Days after Shreveport recorded its 40th homicide of the year, Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator has released his own comprehensive plan for combatting crime in the city.
“Violent crime is literally killing Shreveport and its citizens,” Prator said in the plan released Monday. “State, parish, and city elected officials, the business community, criminal justice professionals, colleges and universities, churches and other places of worship, the media, and our citizens all have a part to play and must work as a team if we expect to reduce violent crime.”
Prator says law enforcement is first on the list, but by far not the only entity that needs to step up.
“Although we’re the quarterbacks in law enforcement, we can’t win without blockers, and runners and punters, and receivers, there is no way we can win.”
Prator also criticized the Justice Reinvestment Act of 2017, which legislators and Gov. John Bel Edwards supported in an effort to reduce the state’s highest-in-the-nation lockup rate. The prison reform bill aimed to depopulate state prisons by 10 percent over the next 10 years, save hundreds of millions in corrections spending, and reinvest 70 percent of savings to public safety programs.
“Many of these violent criminals have re-offended since being released early. There is sound evidence to show violent crime has dramatically increased since the implementation of the Justice Reinvestment Act of 2017,” Prator said Monday.
“This act was meant to lower inmate numbers while reducing crime and saving millions of dollars to fund inmate rehabilitation programs. Did this act hurt more than it helped? We need an impartial and critical study of the effects of the act, the cost savings, and the repercussions of the early release of violent felons. If any money was saved, where has it gone? Once this impartial review is completed, we need legislation to fix the problems.”
The sheriff also called for aggressive prosecution and sentencing similar to the prosecution and sentencing in the federal courts to reduce violence on the streets.
Prator says the Mayor and the Shreveport City Council could “more aggressively attack the conditions that encourage crime in our neighborhoods,” directly correlating blight and trash with illegal activity.
Blight in Shreveport is the worst I have seen in all my 47 years of patrolling the neighborhoods of Shreveport. It is incredibly sad that some citizens must live in horrible neighborhood conditions with rats in their homes while witnessing shootings in their streets and bullets coming through their walls. It is true that blight and trash promote illegal activity. The “broken windows” concept is a proven theory. It simply cannot be denied. If you doubt it, overlay a blight map and a violent crime map. They are virtually the same area.Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator – June 7, 2021
“If the violent crime was treated like COVID, we would all be up in arms and all be figuring out who’s going to design the vaccine or who is going to make their vaccine and how are we going to get it distributed should we all wear masks or should we do this and it would be someone wanting to talk about it every day, not so with violent crime.”
Prator wants the public to know that he isn’t telling anyone how to do their job and that he does not have all the answers, but to call on everyone to consider ways they can do their part.
“It’s time for each of us to work harder, demand more, vote wiser, or else find a good realtor. “