In response to recent episodes of violent crime in Shreveport, I will be asking the Caddo Parish Commission to fund a $1 Million Public Safety Grant to the City of Shreveport for the purchase of Shotspotter program. The request comes in the aftermath of 5 homicides in the last week for Shreveport. One homicide claimed the life of 4 year old Messiah Murphy with over 40 shots fired last Thursday.
These crime are senseless and unexplainable to the vast majority of Shreveport citizens. Our men an women of the Shreveport Police Department simply are not able to be with everyone all the time. The goal of this pilot program is to add an extra set of eyes to help support their work. ShotSpotter uses an array of sensitive, coordinated microphones to measure sound waves and discern gunfire from other loud noises, such as fireworks or a car backfiring. If placed in multiple locations, those microphones can quickly triangulate the location of a discharge, giving police a chance to respond faster.
In addition to the ShotSpotter technology, the funding would also add Crime
Cameras to assist local law enforcement with solving crimes. Throughout the years local law enforcement leadership has pointed to an unwillingness for citizens to come forward with information. The cameras would be place in areas identified by SPD crime stats and designated as hot spots. The hope is that the cameras would be discretely located and not revealed to the public. We are not looking to watch the daily activity of law abiding citizens or invade their privacy. However, we know that criminal activity is taking place and not being reported with enough time to diffuse the situation, increase response time, or help solve the case. Our obligation as an elected official is to own this problem and ensure that citizens feel safe in this community.
If approved the funds would be provided to the City of Shreveport in the form of a public safety grant from the Parish's Reserve Trust Fund ($30 million fund balance). The Parish of Caddo would encourage the city to budget or seek grants and private foundation funding to help with ongoing maintenance cost. I hope this effort would be a part of crafting a real comprehensive long-term effort to address crime, as one has yet to be articulated to the citizens of Shreveport. Despite reports that crime is down, each of us must wrestle with the question "Do you feel safe". The answer to that question must be the concern to each elected official of this community, regardless of the individual office. "