Vernon Parish Sheriff debunks articles claiming Leesville as the 10th most dangerous city in the state
Residents in Central Louisiana often see articles filled with FBI crime statistics, explaining to them how much crime is in their community. Recently, one article ranked Leesville as one of the top 10 most dangerous cities in the state.
"I thought it was important to let the public know that Leesville/Vernon Parish is a safe place to live," said Sam Craft, the sheriff of Vernon Parish.
Sheriff Craft aims to debunk several articles claiming Leesville as the tenth most dangerous city in the state. The articles came to this result after looking at statistics from the FBI's latest crime report, and round each city's per capita up or down to a population of 100,000.
"Burglaries and thefts were down for the parish," Sheriff Craft explained. "The numbers were down from the 2018 numbers."
The crime reports from the parish are visibly lower in every category compared to the stats released by the FBI in 2016.
Now, compare those numbers to a report released by the Leesville Police Department, which shows even lower numbers because their report focuses specifically on the city rather than the entire parish.
We took to the streets in Downtown Leesville to ask residents about their thoughts on the city's crime rate.
"I think it's okay," said Daisy Mealy, a Vernon Parish resident. "Every area has it's good and bad areas, but you just have to know where you want to live."
"It doesn't seem like it's a bad town to me," said Monica Latimer, another Vernon Parish resident. "I haven't any problems."
However, one category that did rise in the 2019 report provided by Vernon Parish Sheriffs Office is the "miscellaneous" section which consists of drug arrests and other assorted crimes.
"The last two years, 2018 and 2019 the narcotics task force arrest 710 people, so that's like 360 people each year," Craft said.