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Baton Rouge Crime Rate: Are You Safe?

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Baton Rouge neighborhood at sunset.

Baton Rouge is one of the largest cities in Louisiana, which means it also has a fairly high crime rate. Like most cities, some of the most dangerous neighborhoods are located within a few miles of the safest neighborhoods. Baton Rouge’s crime rates reveal whether residents of the city are living in a safe place, or a danger zone.

What Are Crime Rates?

To determine whether or not a city or state is safe, our first resources are crime rates. Crime rates are released yearly by the FBI as the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics. Crime rates are recorded for every town, city, and state. To calculate crime rates, the FBI first records the total number of crimes that have been committed in an area. Then, the number of crimes is divided by the total population in the same area. After the calculations, the FBI multiplies the final number by 100,000. The crime rate then becomes “the number of crimes per 100,000 people.”

Crime rates are uniform numbers that allow the crime in a small town to be compared to the crime of a city like New York City. However, once we find the crime rate of an area, how do we know whether the crime rate is safe or dangerous? For example, is 100 violent crimes per 100,000 people safe or dangerous?

To create an average baseline for crime, the FBI has created a national crime rate. The national crime rate includes every city across the nation and creates the average number of crimes per 100,000 people for the country. The national crime rate helps us to better compare other crime rates. When a city or state has a crime rate that is higher than the national average, we know that the city or state is more dangerous. If an area has a lower crime rate than the national average, the city is safer.

Several policemen in bullet proof vests and helmets at the seen of a crime detected by a motion detector camera.

To simplify crime rates, crime rates are separated into two types of crime: violent crime and property crime. Violent crime includes homicides and nonnegligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. The national average violent crime rate is 382 violent crimes per 100,000 people. The national violent crime rate can be separated into crimes rates for murder, rape, robbery, and assault:

  • National Murder Rate: 5 murders per 100,000
  • National Rape Rate: 43 rapes per 100,000
  • National Robbery Rate: 86 robberies per 100,000
  • National Assault Rate: 247 assaults per 100,000

Violent crimes are the most serious category of crime. When convicted of a violent crime, those accused can face up to a lifetime in prison, depending on the crime. The average jail sentence for violent crime is 89 months. The longest jail sentence ever given in the United States was in 1994. The jail sentence was given to an Oklahoma man by the name of Charles Scott Robinson. He was convicted of raping six children and was given 5,000 years in prison for each child harmed. The jail sentence that the jury decided was 30,000 years.

Property crime includes burglary, theft, and motor vehicle theft. The national average property crime rate is 2,362.2 property crimes per 100,000 people. This crime rate can be separated into the crime rates for burglary, theft, and motor vehicle theft:

  • National Burglary Rate: 376 burglaries per 100,000
  • National Theft Rate: 1,595 thefts per 100,000
  • National Car Theft Rate: 229 car thefts per 100,000

Property crime is the most common reported by law enforcement agencies. The jail sentence for property crime is also significantly lower than the jail sentence of property crime. Typically, when convicted of a property crime, the jail sentence is between one month in prison to five years in prison.

Criminal standing over victim, silhouetted from the light of a white streetlight.

Baton Rouge Crime Rate

Baton Rouge is the most dangerous city in Lousiana and has one of the highest murder rates in the country. While in Baton Rouge, there is a 1 in 17 chance of becoming a victim of any crime (violent crime or property crime).

The violent crime rate in Baton Rouge is 944, which is 247 percent higher than the national average. Residents of Baton Rouge have a 1 in 109 chance of becoming a victim of violent crime. The crime rates for murder, rape, robbery, and assault are:

  • Baton Rouge Murder Rate: 36 murders per 100,000
  • Baton Rouge Rape Rate: 37 rapes per 100,000
  • Baton Rouge Robbery Rate: 332 robberies per 100,000
  • Baton Rouge Assault Rate: 539 assaults per 100,000

Essentially, while in Baton Rouge, you’re just as likely to be murdered than raped, which is not a necessarily comforting idea. Baton Rouge has the seventh-highest murder rate in the United States. Also, the murder rate in Baton Rouge is seven times higher than the national average. This means that in a population of 221,599, there are 79 murders reported every year.

The property crime rate in Baton Rouge is 5,612 property crimes per 100,000 people. There is a 1 in 18 chance that residents will become a victim of property crime. The property crimes rates for burglary, theft, and car theft are:

  • Baton Rouge Burglary Rate: 1,244 burglaries per 100,000
  • Baton Rouge Theft Rate: 3,943 thefts per 100,000
  • Baton Rouge Car Theft Rate: 435 car thefts per 100,000

The burglary rate in Baton Rouge is 330 percent higher than the national average. Residents in Baton Rouge are likely to experience burglary. Most police officers in Baton Rouge recommend that homeowners stay aware of their chances of burglary. Rather than staying complacent in their homes, residents of Baton Rouge should actively protect their homes.

Police Cars on Busy City Corner with lights on.

Law Enforcement in Baton Rouge

In Baton Rouge, there are 645 police officers. In the city, there is one main police department that is separated into different police sections to better protect the city. There is one police officer per 343 people, which is lower than some states. Typically, large, crime-ridden cities will have one police officer per 250 people.

Although the lower numbers of police officers in Baton Rouge may contribute slightly to the high crime rates, it’s not the main issue. Current police officers in the city face many trials as they aim to protect the residents. In 2016, six police officers were the targets of shootings. Three of the police officers were killed by the perpetrator, while the other three were injured. The shooter was also killed.

Police in Baton Rouge also face gang fights, drug abuse, and other issues while patrolling the city. Working as a law enforcement officer in one of the most dangerous cities in Louisiana takes its toll on the officers. According to a Baton Rouge news site, there is a deficiency in the Baton Rouge police force. Every year, the number of officers who retire or resign exceeds the number of officers who are hired, making it difficult to cover the city’s rising crime rates.

a forest of trees in a Louisiana swamp.

Is Baton Rouge Safe?

Baton Rouge is more dangerous than the average city. Baton Rouge is the capital of Lousiana, the state with the highest murder rate in the country. Lousiana has a murder rate of 11 murders per 100,000 people, which is nearly two times higher than the national average—and higher than any other state average.

The crime rate in Louisiana is 3,814 crimes per 100,000 people. The violent crime rate is 538 violent crimes per 100,000 people, 140 percent higher than the national average. The crime rates for murder, rape, robbery, and assault are:

  • Louisiana Murder Rate: 11 murders per 100,000
  • Louisiana Rape Rate: 45 rapes per 100,000
  • Louisiana Robbery Rate: 98 robberies per 100,000
  • Louisiana Assault Rate: 383 assaults per 100,000

The property crime rate in Louisiana is 3,276, which is 138 percent higher than the national average. The crime rates for burglary, theft, and car theft are:

Louisiana Burglary Rate: 668 burglaries per 100,000 Louisiana Theft Rate: 2,360 thefts per 100,000 Louisiana Car Theft Rate: 248 car thefts per 100,000

Baton Rouge, like most large cities, isn’t safe when looking at the numbers. On all fronts, crime is higher than average. You’re more likely to become a victim of crime in Baton Rouge than in most other cities in Louisiana. According to a survey on AreaVibes.com, many residents of Baton Rouge feel unsafe. The poll on the site asked two questions:

Several police officers forming a perimeter at night.

First, it asked, “How would you rate the amount of crime in Baton Rouge?” A surprising 58 percent of responders selected the answer, “Awful. Crime is rampant in this area.”

The second question asked by the poll was, “Do you feel safe walking alone at night in Baton Rouge?” More than half of the responders, 68 percent, said, “Not safe at all. I never walk alone at night.”

Nearly half of people living in Baton Rouge feel unsafe. However, about ten percent of the people who responded indicated that they feel like the crime in Baton Rouge is “Excellent. There is virtually no crime in this area.” Some people also responded that they feel “extremely safe” walking alone at night. So, how are there such varied responses?

The answer is simple: the entire city isn’t crime ridden. There are several neighborhoods within Baton Rouge that are relatively safe.

Safest Neighborhoods in Baton Rouge

What are the safest neighborhoods in Baton Rouge? Within the city, there are several areas that see very little crime. According to Neighborhood Scout, these are the ten safest neighborhoods within the crime-ridden city:

  • Tiger Bend Road / Antioch Road
  • Longwood / Burtville
  • Redman Lake Drive / Hoo Shoo Too Road
  • Kleinpeter
  • Goodwood
  • Village Saint George
  • Perkins Road / Lee Drive
  • West Lake Shore Drive / West Lakeshore Drive
  • Highland Road / Albert Hart Drive

However, even if you live in a dangerous neighborhood, it’s not impossible to stay safe. To stay safe in a dangerous neighborhood, simply be smart about your security. Since you’re significantly more likely to become a victim of burglary, you should install a home security system with door sensors and window sensors and follow home security tips that will decrease your chances of becoming a victim. While traveling in Baton Rouge, always travel with a friend and make sure that someone always has access to your location.

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