You’re Dead Wrong About the Crime Rate at the Fair Grounds
This week, I've spent a lot of time writing about the Fair Grounds. It started earlier this week with a gallery showing the incredibly depressing current state of Fair Grounds Field. Once that article went out, hundreds of Facebook users in Shreveport rallied around the idea of putting a Top Golf in its place. I wrote about that possibility yesterday and then all Hell broke loose.
I asked the following question on K945's Facebook yesterday; Do you think Top Golf could be successful in Shreveport at the Fair Grounds? The question, of course, was hypothetical as there is currently no plans for a Top Golf to come to the Fair Grounds, or anywhere in NWLA for that matter.
The responses were immediate and 99% of users were in agreement with each other. Basically, a very high percentage of comments believed Top Golf at the Fair Grounds would fail because of the crime rate at the Fair Grounds. Personally, I know for a fact that Top Golf would fail at the Fair Grounds, but not because of the crime rate. Instead, Top Golf would fail because of the (very inaccurate) perception of crime at the Fair Grounds.
Top Golf would fail at the Fair Grounds because of people who comment things like this:
It didn't stop there. There were hundreds more to choose from, all echoing the same false rhetoric. That the crime rate is so bad at the Fair Grounds, Top Golf would fail.
This is one of my biggest problems with social media. It gives people a platform to say things, with conviction, that are completely untrue and can be proven false within a matter of minutes.
Before we continue, I want to make one thing perfectly clear. I am not making the argument that Shreveport's crime rate is low and acceptable. In fact, Shreveport's crime rate is 128% higher than the national average. I don't believe any media member has spent more time or effort bashing the city for its inexcusable crime rate.
I am talking about one particular part of Shreveport that has been wrongly portrayed in this instance.
Of course, The State Fair of Louisiana brings in a lot of these negative views of the Fair Grounds, but without spending too much time on the annual event, I can make a case that the Fair itself is not as dangerous as people say. Of course, there's no denying there have been fights at the Fair, and no one wants to see that or be around that. However, we're talking about one or two fights in recent memory at an event that sees upwards of 460,000 people within a two-week span. I believe you would see the same amount of fights at any event of that size, anywhere in the country. It's also worth noting that there hasn't been a documented shooting at the State Fair of Louisiana in well over a decade.
Having said all of that, let me say that I don't it's fair (no pun intended) to include your views or perceptions about the Louisiana State Fair when judging whether or not the Fair Grounds is a safe place. The State Fair is in town once a year, for a couple of weeks, and sees people from all over the region. Instead of looking at the perceived crime rate at the fair, I believe you should look to something that literally proves my point throughout the year.
The Shreveport Mudbugs have called George's Pond (Hirsch Coliseum) home since relaunching the team in 2016. That's five years of playing games nearly year-round at the Fair Grounds. Not only are they playing 30+ home games a year, but they are playing these games in front of thousands of fans. The Mudbugs have led the NAHL in attendance since joining the league. We're talking about nearly 200 home games played at the Fair Grounds in front of hundreds of thousands of people since 2016.
Those are all big numbers, so let me give you a small number.
Zero. That's the number of crimes reported at the Fair Grounds since the Mudbugs came back to the Hirsch Coliseum. In five years, there has not been one shooting, one burglary, one assault, or one fight at the Fair Grounds during a Mudbugs hockey game. Sure, there have been fights on the ice, but none outside of the arena. Think about the thousands of cars that have been left unattended late at night, at the Fair Grounds, during a hockey game over the past five years. Not one single car has been broken into.
[To be fair, there has been one single car theft incident outside of the arena in broad daylight during a beer-league hockey, where someone left their car running and unlocked outside of the arena. That's a bad idea anywhere in the country.]
If you believe that crime is out of control at the Fair Grounds in Shreveport, you're dead wrong, because it's practically nonexistent.