KATC is looking into shootings in New Iberia since the launch of the new city police department.
How many shootings have happened since the department’s launch in July, and what is the public perception of how the new police department is doing?
Officials seem to agree that shootings have lessened.
“I think crime is down. However, I do think there are pockets of gun violence that are still happening that may be remnants of whatever was happening before the police department came into existence,” explained New Iberia Councilman Marlon Lewis.
Lewis represents the West-End neighborhood. The area of town has a reputation for violence but Lewis says increased patrols are making a difference.
“Before we had our New Iberia City Police Department there were rashes and rashes of shooting. People were shooting guns in the air. People were shooting just for fun. We don’t get all of that,” said Lewis.
We asked Police Captain John Babin for statistics about shooting in the city since the force went on patrol in July.
He told us they don’t have solid numbers right now.
“I can’t give you specific numbers right now, but we’re working hard. We’re reaching out to the community. Every time we come to work we’re looking at different ways we can reach out to make a difference,” explained Babin.
The department puts eight to ten patrol cars on every shift.
Babin says that increased staffing is helping police respond to shooting calls more quickly.
“You know I tell the guys as much as I can, “burn gas.” Our latest shooting, the shooting occurred and the unit actually heard shots fired. He was a block away. Within thirty seconds he was on scene,” explained Babin.
That has West-End residents like Lewis feeling a little more comfortable.
“Now, they may have a gunshot tonight, but some of that you just can’t control. But at the end of the day I think the presence of the police department has deterred and made a big difference in our community,” said Lewis.