January 24, 2017  |  12:13 pm

St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith has released the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office 2016 Uniform Crime Reports (UCR), and has also included the crime statistics from the past nine years.

Statistically, crime is down in St. Tammany Parish, but overall, the total number of crimes reported has virtually stayed the same. “These numbers are nothing to be ashamed of, however, there is always room for improvement,” says St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith.

Although it is not reflected in the 2016 crime statistics, law enforcement in St. Tammany Parish has had a busy start to 2017. With four shootings in the month of January, one being an officer involved shooting with Slidell Police, it raises concern for Sheriff Smith and several St. Tammany residents. “Most of the violent crime in our parish is fueled by one common dominator…narcotics,” says Sheriff Smith.

In response, the St. Tammany Parish Narcotics Task Force, which consists of the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, Slidell Police, Mandeville Police, and Covington Police, are ramping up their efforts to focus on the drug traffickers throughout the parish. “Narcotics has a direct link to an overwhelming majority of crimes; both violent and property crimes,” says Sheriff Smith. In 2016, the STP Narcotics Task Force seized over fifty guns from violent criminals, made over 340 arrests, and conducted multiple undercover operations. Sheriff Smith hopes to increase those numbers in 2017.

“In order to be successful at keeping crime down, many different factors have to come into play. It must be a team effort between our deputies, other law enforcement agencies, our citizens, and our judicial system. We must continue our community outreach efforts and continue to gain 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 is asking anyone with information about narcotics, or other crimes, to submit a tip utilizing 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.