Baton Rouge homeless population on edge following three homicides; killer at-large
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Homeless people in Baton Rouge are worrying they could be next after recent shootings that appear to have targeted their community.
Police presence in the area off North Boulevard has noticeably increased after the last shooting left a man dead on the porch of a vacant house, but some are worried that extra security is not enough.
“People are scared,” said Amanda, who did not want her last name used in this story.
Amanda has spent several years on the streets of Baton Rouge. She knows there are inherent dangers that come with life on the streets, but she has taken measures to protect herself.
“I have a knife in my back pocket,” she said. “I have mace in my purse, and I know how to go fisticuffs with you.”
She’s worried that will not be enough anymore.
“I don’t think it’ll make a difference, no, not with someone like this,” she said.
Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul has yet to name a suspect in the murders, but has said he believes they are connected.
“We’re working,” Paul said. “Our detectives are working long hours to determine the person or persons responsible.”
In the meantime, Chief Paul says his department is working with community leaders, like David Kneipp with Volunteers of America, to get people off the streets and out of harm’s way.
“We’re attempting to communicate to the homeless community that there is a danger out there, they need to get off the street and then working with Louisiana Housing Corporation to provide vouchers for hotel stays to get them off the streets at night when it’s so dangerous.”
It’s a tough task though, and until police have their killer, street smarts is the name of the game for homeless people around the area.
"Whether you're homeless or not, stay safe,” Amanda said. “If you don't have to be out walking after dark, don't. Just stay with other people. Stay safe."
If you know anything about these crimes, you’re urged to call Crime Stoppers at 225-344-7867.
Copyright 2019 WAFB. All rights reserved.