Gated communities reassure local residents, offer lower theft rates - News

Gated communities reassure local residents, offer lower theft rates

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Posted: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 12:31 am | Updated: 12:41 am, Tue Jun 18, 2013.

The perceived safety of a gated neighborhood may be a significant factor in soothing residents’ worries about crime in the University community.

Burglary is the second most committed crime in the district that contains Tigerland and surrounding areas, which is second only to larceny, according to Baton Rouge Police Department crime statistics.

Although many college students return home during the summer months, the burglary rate increases during the summer. In 2012, 94 of the 217 burglaries occurred in the four-month span of May through August.

“When I was first moving down here, I chose this place specifically because they told me they would be putting in a gate,” said 23-year-old Mississippi native Patrick Jones. “I wouldn’t live anywhere around here without a gate.”

Jones moved to Baton Rouge for work after living in Mississippi and Alaska.

The added protection allows landlords throughout the area to charge more for rent at gated apartments. After examining rent rates for eight Baton Rouge communities, the average price of rent for a three-bedroom apartment was $150 a month more than apartments that did not offer a gate.

Another part of Baton Rouge that experiences a spike in crime rate is the housing area directly around campus — especially the area near State Street. The area saw more burglaries than apartments or houses on the south side of campus, according to BRPD crime statistics.

And statistics show gated communities have a lower crime rate. Of the seven recent home burglaries around campus, only one happened in a neighborhood which provides residents the protection of a gate, according to the BRPD crime map.

“Any time you can add an additional deterrent or obstruction to criminals getting into an area, it is going to help,” said LSUPD Spokesman Capt. Cory Lalonde. “At the same time, I don’t think people should get a false sense of security from living in a gated community. You still need to be aware of your surroundings and pay attention and report criminal and suspicious activity, but I think the barrier doesn’t hurt.”

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