The beginning of summertime routinely brings about a higher number of calls for service to the men and women of the Natchitoches Police Department. As the school year ends, daylight hours increase and temperatures and heat indexes begin to soar, an increase in certain crimes is often noticed.
This year is no exception. Since Jan. 1, the NPD has received more than 80 illegal use of weapons calls. This is when an individual, or groups of individuals, shoot their guns in the air with no regard for where that bullet may come down. Stopping these criminal acts has been a challenge because an officer is not always immediately present to address it.
The police department has also responded to more than 100 auto burglaries this year and although these numbers are not out of the norm, it is far more than we should be experiencing.
These issues, as well as those listed below, are some of the offenses a task force will be addressing: Locations of recent burglaries Discharging firearms within the city limits Juvenile curfew violations Loud music complaints Alcohol complaints such as drinking in public parks Serving active bench warrants Traffic enforcement (Emphasis on Texting While Driving) Grass clippings in the street To combat such activity, the NPD is reinstating the ASP Team (Additional Street Patrol).
This specialized, albeit temporary, unit will be rolling simultaneously with day-to-day police operations. Both divisions will serve a dual roll, a stronger police presence acting as a deterrent and of course, apprehension.