SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – 2020’s high homicide rate in Shreveport has continued into the new year, with three homicides already reported in 2021.
“I’m disappointed that we’ve started the year off with some homicides,” Shreveport Police Chief Ben Raymond said. “At least two families are destroyed any time there is a homicide.”
There were at least 75 homicides in the city over the course of 2020. There were 42 in 2019.
Over the next few months, Raymond said SPD will be working to get illegal firearms off the street, a move be believes will reduce violent crime in the city.
“If you look back at 2020, Part 1 crimes are still at a historical low numbers, the exception being homicides and shootings,” said Raymond. “The only way I think the police department can adequately address that is to try to keep firearms out of the hands of those who shouldn’t possess them.”
Part 1 crimes are murder, manslaughter, sex offenses, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, and arson.
Raymond said a few special operations are in the works to try to get those weapons off the streets, but he could not offer specific details.
In recent months, the number of officers on the SPD payroll has reduced significantly. In December, Shreveport Police Officers Association (SPOA) President Michael Carter told NBC 6 the department had 100 vacancies amid debate leading up to a city council vote on pay raises for police and firefighters.
Chief Raymond is looking to fill out the ranks through a program that would bring part-time officers onto the force in different capacities, but right now the process is still in the exploratory phase.
“Essentially we want to hire either retired officers, or those individuals who are post-certified, or can easily become post-certified again and have them come in and assist us with our efforts.”
Tuesday, Chief Raymond was the special guest speaker at the Caddo Republican Party’s monthly luncheon where he was presented the group’s 2021 Law Enforcement Appreciation Award.