If you ask most people in Shreveport, they'll probably tell you that crime is outrageous in Shreveport. They'll use phrases like "this is the most violent city in America" or "It didn't used to be this way". Some people in the Shreveport area even believe that Shreveport's violent crime and murder rate are the highest in the country, or that it's the highest in the history of the city.

It usually shocks people when they find out that none of those statements are true.

Well, it either shocks them, or they call the person providing the statistics a liar, or "fake news". Sometimes they even try to assert that the Shreveport Police or FBI are doing something illegal to make the numbers change. There's a lot of weird situations people will try to construct instead of just looking at the actual data.

We've been tracking the crime over the last few years in Shreveport, using the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting statistics. These stats are the same used across the United States to measure crime in all cities and states. It creates an even playing field when measuring giant metros against mid-sized cities and small cities.

Last year, crime was down again in the city. But people didn't want to believe it.

For 2019, we only have numbers through October, but according to those stats, crime is down AGAIN in Shreveport. Auto Theft, Property Crime, Violent Crime, and Total Crime are ALL DOWN IN SHREVEPORT. 

Here are those breakdowns:

Auto Theft: -26% Year to Year
Property Crime: -8% Year to Year
Violent Crime: - 11% Year to Year
Total Crime: -6% Year to Year

But it's not just the FBI statistics that show Shreveport is getting safer. The personal finance website WalletHub has put together their "Safest Cities In America" list for 2019. To compile their data, they relied on the work of experts Jennifer A Horney, Ph.D from University of Delaware, and Randy Kearns, Assistant Professor at University of New Orleans.

Without tearing through all of their numbers, we'll just look at where Shreveport came in, which was 148 of 182. Up from where most would expect it, but not as good as it could be. The city is trending in the right direction. But maybe the most interesting part is who Shreveport ranked ahead of. Here are the cities Shreveport is safer than:

150 - Seattle, WA
151 - Columbus, OH
152 - Akron, OH
153 - Lubbock, TX
154 - Chattanooga, TN
155 - Lexington, KY
157 - Dallas, TX
159 - Tacoma, WA
160 - Denver, CO
161 - Tucson, AZ
164 - Orlando, FL
165 - New Orleans, LA
166 - Cleveland, OH
167 - Washington, DC
168 - St. Petersburg, FL
170 - Wichita, KS
172 - Anchorage, AK
175 - Oklanhoma City, OK
177 - Little Rock, AR
178 - Baton Rouge, LA
181 - Fort Lauderdale, FL

If you sat down 10 people from Shreveport, and asked them if the cities listed above were SAFER than Shreveport, you'd probably hear 8-10 "yes" answers per city. Even though the stats and facts wouldn't back it up, people would still BELIEVE a city like Orlando/Wichita/Dallas would be safer than Shreveport.

Shreveport.gov

Above is the graph of nearly 50 years of crime in Shreveport. This includes homicide, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, theft, and auto theft. The large spikes in the middle last from 1983 to about 2000, with some other spikes in the early 80s and early 2000s. But to the right of the graph is modern time, where the numbers are a fraction of what they were in the 80s and 90s. Using this data, it's safe to say that 2010-2019 has been the safest decade in Shreveport since the 70s.

So why don't people believe in these facts? Probably social media.

With everyone having instant access to every crime that happens in the city, as it happens, and then constant reminders that it happened, it creates a feeling of constant crime. Facebook is filled with "neighborhood groups" who post all day about mundane activities on sidewalks like a violent crime is about to occur. Social media networks full of wannabe Columbos and Magnum PIs wanting to investigate crimes from their smart phones.

In 1993, there were nearly 75 homicides in the city of Shreveport. In 2018, there were roughly 50, which is roughly where the number has been since 2016. Imagine the hysteria over crime we have now, but if it were 1993, where the violent crime rate was twice what it is now, and there were 50% more homicides. If Facebook existed in 1993, you would have believed the city was a war zone.

But in 1993, you didn't have immediate access to every traffic stop in the city. There wasn't a 911 website where people could park themselves all day to take screen shots and post them to their "neighborhood group". You had radio news a couple times an hour, TV news in the morning, evening, and night, and a newspaper once a day. That was it.

So instead of following a single crime from 911 website, to Facebook group, to radio, to TV, back to Facebook, to phone call, back to Facebook...you only heard about it once in a radio newscast, saw in once on TV news, and read about the arrest in the paper. That was it.

Is Shreveport crime worse than it was in the early 2000s, the 1990s, or the 1980s? Facts say "no". But does it feel that way? Your Facebook group says "yes".