LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Violent crimes dominate the news and can sometimes seem to be taking over our streets.
Monday night, law enforcement leaders in Calcasieu Parish discussed crime in our area, the high rate of violence, and what to do about it.
Some would say Lake Charles has a crime problem, at least you might think that after a quick search of crime stats.
Wikipedia states, "The violent crime rate In Lake Charles is one of the highest in the nation."
"Lake Charles is one of the safest communities in the country, it is certainly one of the safest in Louisiana," said District Attorney John DeRosier.
At a Republican Roundtable, Calcasieu's top law enforcement officials say don't always believe what you read.
"Don't look at a website that just throws numbers up there," said Sheriff Tony Mancuso, "and that's really what I believe they did."
The DA, sheriff, and police chief all agree the stats are skewed. They say different databases count crime differently, and many don't take into account the Lake area's current population, also they say the Uniform Crime Reporting or UCR system is problematic.
"The FBI's website will tell you the pitfalls of trying to compare statistics in UCR," said Chief Don Dixon.
"It's so inaccurate, Don and I talk about it all the time, and frankly my staff and I talk about it all the time," said Mancuso.
While they say the numbers aren't as high as they seem, all agree crime remains a top priority across Calcasieu Parish.
"Every morning, I go and I read every detective's report, I read patrol reports, I read the map where every crime happened the day before," said Dixon.
While Sheriff Tony Mancuso and Chief Don Dixon are making moves to deter crime - like extra patrols on the streets, community initiatives, and a stronger relationship among agencies - both say their focus is this community, not online statistics.
"I don't compare us to Alexandria and Lafayette. I don't care about Alexandria and Lafayette. I care about Lake Charles," said Dixon.