January 18, 2018  |  04:43 pm

Sheriff Randy Smith today released the 2017 crime statistics for unincorporated St. Tammany Parish.

Despite the much-publicized uptick in homicides, the total number of crimes reported in St. Tammany Parish is down slightly from previous years.

Overall, violent crime is down 7.7%, with a solve rate of 91%, compared to the national average solve rate of 46%.* Robbery and simple battery were also both down, by 26% and 12.8% respectively.

There were 17 homicides in unincorporated St. Tammany in 2017**. Fourteen were murders and three were justifiable homicides. Only one remains unsolved at this time. This is a clearance rate of 94% compared to the national average clearance rate of 61.5%.

“One homicide is too many. We are committed to solving each and every one. I want the residents of St. Tammany to know that these are not random acts of violence. St. Tammany Parish remains a safe place to live and work,” says Sheriff Randy Smith.

Nearly half of last year’s homicides were domestic related. Sheriff Smith will continue to work aggressively against domestic violence in St. Tammany Parish. STPSO detectives work closely with victims of domestic violence, following up on every call and connecting victims with various resources to help keep them safe, through partnerships with organizations such as Safe Harbor. Detectives are committed to working with the D.A.’s Office to see all of these cases through. In 2017, Sheriff Smith created the Crisis Intervention Team to help address the mental health crisis in St. Tammany Parish. Mental health issues often play a role in domestic violence situations.

Other 2017 homicides can be attributed to narcotics.

The St. Tammany Parish Narcotics Task Force, which consists of the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, Slidell

Police, Mandeville Police, and Covington Police, has continued to ramp up their efforts to focus on the drug traffickers throughout the parish. In 2017, the STP Narcotics Task Force seized 66 guns from violent criminals, nine of which had been reported stolen in other crimes. 

Under Sheriff Smith’s leadership, the newly created Intel Unit and the Highway Enforcement Unit assist the Narcotics Task Force in getting stolen guns and drugs off the streets by proactively policing in high crime neighborhoods and on highways and interstates traversing St. Tammany Parish.  

Sheriff Smith just recently met with LSU School of Public Heath criminologist Peter Scharf to examine the homicides that occurred in 2017 and will use any applicable information derived from this partnership to help address this issue going forward.

Non-violent crime is up 2.6%, but the solve rate remains double the national average. The number of thefts and vehicle thefts remain the same, with an 12.5% increase in burglary. As previously reported, there were a large number of vehicle burglaries reported in 2017.

 “Keeping crime rates down is a team effort between our deputies, other law enforcement agencies, our citizens, and our judicial system. We must continue our community outreach efforts and maintain the trust of our citizens. If any one of these facets falls short, it affects all of us,” says Sheriff Randy Smith.

Sheriff Smith asks that anyone with information about narcotics, or other crimes, to submit a tip through the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office website (www.stpso.com), by calling the narcotics tip line (1-888-GO-2-JAIL), or by calling Crimestoppers. You can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward through Crimestoppers.

Sheriff Smith is currently exploring an additional crime reporting and prevention tool, a smartphone app where citizens can report crime in real time. Potential plans for the app also include the ability to alert citizens about safety concerns, possible scams and crime trends.


*National averages are based on last available 2015 numbers.

**The actual murder numbers for UCR reporting to the FBI for 2017 will be 12 due to the reporting process. The additional numbers will appear in future UCR reports.