Northside Residents Voice Concerns About Increased Gun Violence
An uptick in violence during recent weeks had Lafayette citizens pleading for help at Tuesday's Lafayette City-Parish Council meeting.
District 4 Council Member Kenneth Boudreaux invited several Northside residents to voice their concerns after a May 17 open house at the new Precinct 4 police substation on Moss Street.
McComb-area resident Deneen Gardner, a Lafayette Consolidated Government employee, said there's not enough police support in her area. The 12th Street resident said she wants to feel comfortable on her porch, like people who "live in River Ranch or on Ambassador."
"A lot of times you’ll be laying there, and you don’t know if a bullet’s gonna come through your house," Gardner said.
Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft said Precincts 1 and 4 have seen a recent increase in "sporadic gun violence," and crime suppression units have been specifically assigned to monitor those areas. But he added that his department can't do as much as is needed.
“Our resources right now are stretched to the limit," said Craft.
Boudreaux said he wants to propose purchasing additional crime-suppression equipment during the city's approaching budget cycle.
"I’m looking for a long-term, heavy dollar commitment to cleaning up neighborhoods where people are being shot at," Boudreaux said.
Only one Armadillo — a high-tech, remote surveillance vehicle used locally to monitor crime-heavy neighborhoods — is available, and Craft said the vehicle is under high demand.
A lot of times you’ll be laying there, and you don’t know if a bullet’s gonna come through your house.
"We're working on trying to get an Armadillo for each precinct," Craft said.
The department's response to increased violence has led to increased arrests, Craft said, and also to an increase in arresting juveniles with firearms. But he said most of the firearms recovered as evidence were stolen in car burglaries, and most of those burglarized vehicles were unlocked.
Dr. Charles Jones, who said he's a bicoastal resident that resides between South-Central Los Angeles and Lafayette, said he's witnessed crime firsthand in his neighborhood near the Precinct 4 substation. Jones raised concerns that the area still doesn't have enough police presence.
"We do need more bodies there," Jones said. "We do need more patrol cars in the area. I'm concerned that we may be short in personnel."
Moss Street-area resident Robert Duhon also spoke at the meeting.
“We’re losing all our kids to gun violence," he said. "Last week, three individuals moved out the neighborhood. They are afraid.”