SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — It’s been a violent year for Shreveport, especially for the city’s youth.

“I’m deeply concerned with that, as I always have, and even more so with the amount of violent crime that’s occurring in our city,” said Interim Police Chief Wayne Smith. “But when it comes down to juveniles, 13-year-olds, young people, my heart is even more shattered.”

As of September 9, 64 homicides have been reported in the city; just shy of the 66 recorded in 2020.

“What we were seeing in the majority of the violent crime, conflict. And the majority of that conflict did not just start that day. It’s a lingering conflict from some other time in the past,” Smith said. “We’ve seen it from weeks, from months, or even some cases, you know, in years, whether the conflicts were not resolved peacefully, and they ultimately divert to violence.”

There’s still an active effort to fill the officer shortage within the Shreveport Police Department.

“This past Friday, we graduated 13 new cadets from the Academy, and they are beginning their training. And we plan to start another academy here very, very soon,” Smith said. “And our efforts to recruit, to train and to retain good police officers is going to be stepped up to a whole different level.”

With the recent launch of the city’s real time crime center – there are more resources to combat gun violence.

“That’ll enable us to see things as they occur, to get to crime scenes a lot quicker, have a lot more information to work with,” Smith said. “We’re putting some new methods into place here in the coming future, such as greater visibility, and great enforcement efforts out in our community.

“I’m just happy to see government, the community, all of our stakeholders beginning to come together, we’re really, really viable solutions to target our problems.”

Shreveport’s worst year for crime was in 1993, with 86 homicides.