Parish crime reported to sheriff drops

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 6, 2000

VIDALIA, La. — In 1999, the number of crimes committed in unincorporated Concordia Parish fell for the fourth year in a row despite a rise in violent crime, according to figures from the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office.

The office’s figures include only crimes reported to the sheriff’s office — not 1999 numbers from the Vidalia and Ferriday police departments, which were not yet available as of Tuesday.

The number of rapes reported to the sheriff’s office rose from four in 1998 to 10 last year, an increase of 150 percent.

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&uot;But I believe that increase can be attributed to the fact that through public education efforts, more women who are sexually assaulted by people they know now know to report those crimes,&uot;&160;Maxwell said. &uot;Many rapes are committed by people the victims know — their boyfriends, for instance.&uot;

In addition, the number of assaults rose from 84 in 1998 to 95 last year, a rise of almost 13.1 percent. But Maxwell believes that normal yearly fluctuations in crime figures are the reason. The number of assaults in 1998 was lower than the numbers reported in 1996 and 1997 — 105 and 97 assaults, respectively.

Only one murder was reported to the sheriff’s office last year — the late January shooting of Johnny Whitehead of Wildsville, allegedly due to an argument over deer meat and raccoon hides — down from two murders in 1998 and five in 1997. Also in 1999, people living in unincorporated Concordia Parish were not as likely to have their property stolen as they were the previous year.

Burglaries dropped from 51 to 44 in 1999, a decrease of 13.7 percent, while thefts reported went from 242 to 189 (a drop of almost 22 percent) and and vehicle thefts went from 17 to 10 (a 41.2 percent drop).

One arson was reported in 1999, while none were reported the previous year.