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LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — With a rising trend in violent crimes across Lafayette Parish, law enforcement agencies create a joint task force to target violent crimes involving guns.

The task force was announced this morning by Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory and Lafayette Parish Sheriff Mark Garber.

Both Guillory and Garber said the rise in violent crime is being committed by “small groups of people” in Lafayette Parish and the surrounding areas.

“We’re largely aware of who these people are,” said Garber, thanks to intelligence efforts of both Lafayette Police and the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Garber said murder rates have risen over the past three years, with 17 homicides in the parish in 2019. That number rose to 21 homicides in 2020 and 29 homicides in 2021. Homicides, however, do not tell the entire story, warned the sheriff, as assaults, batteries and illegal possession charges are also on the rise.

The point of the task force, Garber said, is to switch from being a reactive force — or what he referred to as “guardian mode” — into a proactive force targeting the perpetrators of gun violence. The sheriff said the task force’s job isn’t to make as many arrests as possible, but rather to disrupt and displace violent activity before it happens.

Garber said the law enforcement agencies are also using a new “real-time crime center” which uses advanced technological tactics that haven’t been seen before, though he did mention an increase of surveillance cameras owned and operated both by law enforcement and third-parties.