The Jan. 5 article entitled “Crime soars in Baton Rouge’s Tigerland area” quoted me regarding the “demographic shift in the area.” However, I feel some important points were left out, which inadvertently mischaracterized my analysis. While some buildings in the area, such as mine, have seen fewer students applying for tenancy, this is not necessarily happening across the board throughout Tigerland in general. Yet, I’m afraid the article implied such a generalization. In fact, many communities within Tigerland are still largely composed of LSU students, and some are likely even well above 90 percent students.
However, there has also been a substantial amount of student housing added to the LSU-area inventory over the past decade, which has caused the overall supply of student housing to increase at a rate faster than demand. So, given the law of supply and demand, it isn’t necessarily so much that “Tigerland fell out of demand” specifically, but rather there are simply fewer students applying for any given unit market-wide. That being said, it does appear that some pockets within the larger Tigerland area are now renting to fewer students than they once did, which has caused a small shift in demographics in some buildings.
As Police Chief Carl Dabadie mentioned in the article, it’s important to keep in mind that a slight shift in demographics is not itself the cause of more crime. It’s simply unfortunate that a certain amount of criminal activity has seemingly moved in as well. It’s also an unfortunate fact of life that the public only hears about the criminals and doesn’t get the same opportunity to learn about the vast majority of hard-working, law-abiding residents of Tigerland, students and non-students alike.
Regardless of the cause of increased crime in Tigerland, it’s my hope that we can now turn more of our attention toward solutions. As has already begun, I’m optimistic that area property owners, managers, residents and business owners can continue working together with the city to reduce crime, since having all stakeholders engaged in such an effort is instrumental to making a positive change in any community.
I’m also hopeful that LSU’s administration will find a way to support these efforts. While LSU admittedly has no direct responsibility for Tigerland, many of the flagship university’s students spend time socializing there. Given this, it would be encouraging to see the university more engaged with the community in efforts to better protect their students, especially in an area so near campus, which bears its mascot’s name and has been an important part of the larger LSU community for so long.
John Bugea Real Estate