EBRSO announces new gang unit to combat violent crime, murders in Baton Rouge area

BATON ROUGE — Crime scene tape, numerous police cars, and ambulances have become a norm in Baton Rouge, but what may not be normal is hearing that many of the homicides are linked to gangs.

Local officials continue to assert that a specific group of juveniles is responsible for the majority of the 44 homicides in the parish, most of which have occurred within the city of Baton Rouge. Now, however, East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux has introduced the “Gang Intelligence and Enforcement Unit,” or GIE, to specifically target gangs in the parish. The GIE unit is comprised of narcotics, special community anti-crime team (SCAT) and gang intelligence divisions.

“The FBI currently recognizes 33,000 violent gangs operating inside the United States,” said Sheriff Gautreaux.

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Specifically in Baton Rouge, the sheriff relied on the most recent study on gangs.

“A 2013 local study identified at least 30 street gangs and more than 500 members in the Baton Rouge area. According to this same study, 43% of the murders between September 2010 and October 2012 were gang related. An additional 12% of the murders were found to “likely be gang-member involved”,” he added.

So far this year, 44 people have died in the parish. Of those, 35 were within the city limits of Baton Rouge, and nine were outside the city and worked by EBRSO.

When compared to the deadliest year on record in Baton Rouge, which had 37 homicides as of April 11, 2021, this year has seen 35 in the same timeframe. Last year, however, there had only been 16 deaths through April 11, 2023, and the 35th homicide did not occur until late May.

In the latest podcast episode of “Louisiana Unfiltered,” EBR Coroner Dr. Beau Clark and Chief Criminal Investigator Shane Evans explained that gun violence is directly related to drugs, and drug sales are related to gangs. To reduce crime in the parish, these officials stress the importance of addressing drugs. This task force aims to do just that.

“Our detectives currently estimate that local gangs and illicit drug dealers are responsible for 80% or more of violent crime in our parish,” Gautreaux said Thursday. “Let me be clear, I do not believe East Baton Rouge Parish is unique in that we have street-level gangs. These type of gangs are found in other cities our size. What I am saying, is that there is a small percentage of individuals, most affiliated with these groups, which are committing the majority of our violent crime.”

Download the Unfiltered with Kiran app from the Apple App Store and Google Play to stay updated on the latest news across the Capital area. 

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