LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The current crime rate in Lake Charles is 15 percent lower compared to this time last year, according to Lake Charles Police Chief Don Dixon.
And that's not the only positive so far this year. Dixon said the department also hired 12 new officers.
For 2012, Lake Charles had a decrease in overall criminal offenses and a huge increase in the amount of cases solved. The percentage of cases solved surpassed the national average.
"If you're down by 15 percent overall crime, that's a grand slam," Dixon said.
And that's just for the first quarter of 2013. But what about last year? The annual crime report showed 2012 overall criminal offenses down by 263 offenses compared to 2011.
Crimes against people, such as murder, rape and assault, decreased by 5 percent, making for a total of 84 offenses less than 2011.
Crimes against property, such as burglary, arson or motor vehicle theft, decreased by 1 percent with 24 less offenses than 2011.
And other criminal offenses, such as criminal damage, drug offenses, DWI or disturbing the peace, were down by 5 percent compared to 2011 with 155 less offenses.
But looking at the areas where LCPD run into the most issues, like Beat Six, the area north of Broad Street and south of the Union Pacific tracks, Dixon said he wants to put as many officers in those areas.
"We try to be as proactive as we can, but it's a tough area," Dixon said. "Beat Six is an issue. We're going to address it. And that's the biggest thing."
And he knows the force can't prevent every crime from happening.
"You know, we don't have control over how many homicides we have. We don't have any control over how many robberies we have. But the things that we do control, we're controlling pretty well," Dixon said.
Especially when you look at the number of cases the LCPD solved in the past year.
According to the crime report, of the almost 10,000 criminal offenses from 2012, 53 percent were solved.
Crimes against people were the biggest category solved with 86 percent of those crimes being solved.
In that category, 100 percent of the murder crimes were solved, 78 percent of the rape cases were solved, 59 percent of the robbery cases were solved, and 90 percent of the assault and battery cases were solved.
"I think it says that even when we're 26 officers down on the street, we're doing the best we can with what we got," Dixon said.
And in the end, Dixon said many thanks go out to the community.
"We're a community that cares about each other and we couldn't have that solution rate without their cooperation," he said.
Dixon said with the new development coming to Lake Charles in the near future, the LCPD is preparing for the increased activity, traffic and any issues that might come with it.
LCPD is down 26 officers, but with the help of the 12 new hires, Dixon said it should help make things easier for the department.
The new officers still have three to four more months of training before they can do ride alongs.