Shreveport experienced a violent start to the year with five murders in January. It’s leading to a violent end.
“We are aware of what’s going on and we are addressing it with all the resources that we have available to us,” says Shreveport Police Department Chief Alan Crump.
A murder Monday at an apartment complex on Bert Kouns Industrial Loop marked the 48th killing this year, surpassing the total from last year and nearly doubling what the city experienced in 2015.
“When I go out into the city, I hear a mixture of emotions,” said Chief Crump. “Can we do better? Yes. Are we trying to do better? Yes.”
Chief Crump sat down with NBC 6’s Dan Jovic on Thursday and talked at length about the crimes, fear creeping in to many neighborhoods, and rumors of his possible resignation which lingered for weeks.
Chief Crump says operations, put together by his crime analysts, have reduced non-violent crimes.
Just this week the Caddo Shreveport Narcotics Unit made 30 arrests the Allendale neighborhood.
But it’s the murders that grab the public’s eyes and ears. They are difficult to predict and police.
“Those individuals [involved in the murder] were together talking, so now every time we see people talking, do we engage them to make certain that they aren’t involved in felonious activity?” asked Chief Crump. “In a society were we have freedoms and civil liberties then we have to operate within the guidelines and boundaries of those things.”
He says the department has instituted countless community policing efforts. But in the areas where the murders are happening, Queensboro, Allendale, Caddo Heights, police are fighting an uphill battle.
“It’s unfortunate that when we go into certain communities some people retreat into their homes,” said Chief Crump.
For many perception is reality, and in interviews NBC 6 News has conducted with residents over the past two weeks, several have expressed a lack of police visibility.
“Sometimes there are undercover operations. Lives are at stake. If a case is interfered with in the wrong way, it could very well hinder a possible prosecution,” said Chief Crump. “As much as we can let the public know, we try to do that.”
His own policing became very visible in late October.
He was cleared of any wrong-doing after firing his gun at a suspect. But it led to persistent rumors about his future.
“Is there truth to the statement that you were contemplating stepping down and had to be talked out of stepping down by the mayor?” asked Jovic.
“No,” said Chief Crump. “That is an absolute falsehood.”
He added, “I never entertained with anyone the idea of leaving.”
Chief Crumps says he didn’t feel compelled to confront a lie.
“I don’t let what I know to not be true affect me as though it is. I have a job to do,” said Chief Crump. “Confusion can travel fast. Sometimes much faster than the truth.”
He says help is on the way in the form of pay raises for officers, making Shreveport a more attractive place to work.
29 new officers will soon graduate the Police Academy and join the department.