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Cpl. Bridgette Dugas, Public Information Officer for the Lafayette Police Department, is our guest on Discover Lafayette. Well-known in our community for her work on behalf of Lafayette Crime Stoppers, Cpl. Dugas joined the police department in 2009 at the encouragement of former Lafayette Deputy Police Chief Reggie Thomas who at the time was working security at the Northgate Mall.
Dugas has risen through the ranks, starting out as a patrol officer at nights, then serving as a Precinct 4 Resource Officer assigned to community relations, and appointed in 2018 to serve as the department’s spokesperson on all matters affecting the City Police Department. Her duties require her to be on duty 24 hours a day to handle all direct contact between the media and the department, as well as to field phone calls from citizens needing information about who to contact for problems they are experiencing.
Crime overall is down 7% in Lafayette. Two categories of crimes did increase in 2019, however; homicides and burglaries both rose. Dugas explained that the homicides were “relationship-based,” meaning that the perpetrator knew the victim and the crimes weren’t random acts of violence.
Chart shows 2019 Crime Statistics in Lafayette LA. Note that while homicides were up, the victims knew their perpetrators. Burglaries were also up slightly, while all other categories of crimes decreased. “Lafayette is a very safe community,” says Cpl Bridgette Dugas.
Important safety tips to keep your self and your possessions safe: Lock your vehicle and home! The majority of vehicle burglaries occur when cars are unlocked and possessions are in plain view. Criminals don’t want to make noise or get caught, so they look for easy targets. Dugas explained if nine cars in your neighborhood are burglarized and the criminals get three guns in the process, they’ll be back looking for more because the area is ripe for easy pickings.
“Lock your vehicles and take valuables out. Secure all personal items and don’t leave things in plain sight. The majority of vehicle burglaries where cars are unlocked are Southside residents. It’s an open invitation to be burglarized if you keep your vehicle unlocked.” Cpl. Bridgette Dugas.
Cpl. Dugas is also the spokesperson for the Lafayette Crime Stoppers program. With a focus on anonymity, anyone with information on the details of a crime is encouraged to call (337)232-TIPS or utilize the free mobile app found at P3tips.com. All callers or tipsters remain anonymous and are only identified by a number assigned to their tip. With most crimes, the people closest to the perpetrators may know information about the commission of the crime.
If an arrest is made based upon the tip or if a grand jury indictment is handed down, the confidential informant receives a cash award from Crime Stoppers. The program is also active in the schools and students can provide the Resource Officer information to solve crimes while remaining anonymous; they receive a $50 Visa Card if their tip provides information to resolve an issue. With the new P3 app which allows you to share information with law enforcement directly from your smartphone, witnesses are now able to report a crime while it’s being executed and provide video footage and other relevant data to local crime enforcement officials.
“If you see something, say something!” When contacting Lafayette Crime Stoppers, your identity will remain anonymous and you will be eligible to receive a reward for helping solve a crime if your tip leads to an arrest or grand jury indictment. (337)232-8477 or P3TIPS.com.
The Lafayette City Police give back to the community and Cpl. Dugas was proud to share their efforts. On March 28, 2020, the fourth Annual “First Responders Basketball Tournament” will be held a the Lafayette Christian Academy gym and proceeds will go to benefit the family of a Lafayette Parish Deputy Sheriff who passed away February 12, 2020. A new program, “Shop with a Cop” took place before Christmas 2019. With donations from Crime Stoppers and private individuals, 60 deserving students from area schools went shopping at Target with Resource Officers from their schools.
Cpl. Dugas encourages residents to install cameras on their homes as it helps solve crimes. Even if you are not the victim, footage from your camera can help solve crimes in your neighborhood and the police appreciate any surveillance evidence made available. Catching the perpetrator will help your neighbor while also keeping your entire neighborhood safer.
Guns, laptops and expensive sunglasses are top valuables that criminals can sell for a profit. Unlike previous days where they would sell items at a pawn shop, today’s thieves can easily sell goods on Facebook and other social media sites. Be alert, lock your car, and double-check to make sure that the lock worked before you walk away from your vehicle!