Metro Council to consider funds for crime prevention program today
Money to fund a new program that will target Baton Rouge's highest-crime area is among the major issues the Metro Council is set to take up at its meeting this afternoon. The council will consider allocating $150,000 from the city-parish budget's discretionary fund to jump-start Project BRAVE (Baton Rouge Area Violence Elimination Project), a crime-fighting program that will focus on reducing crime in the 70805 ZIP code. That three-by-three-square-mile area in north Baton Rouge is the "hottest of the hot spots" for criminal activity in the parish and accounts for 30% of the city's murders, according to EBR Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III, who hopes to have the program fully operational by the fall. As currently envisioned, Project BRAVE will be a local version of an Operation Ceasefire program, which targets a small number of chronic offenders responsible for the majority of crime. Similar programs have proven successful in reducing crime in other cities around the country. While the council is expected to approve the funding allocation today, Moore is hoping the majority of the money for Project BRAVE will come from federal funds. Later this week, Moore says his office will submit a grant request for up to $500,000 a year for the next five years and should know by September whether the grant is approved. "If we don't get the grant, we're going to implement [the program] on a smaller basis because this is what we have to be doing," says Moore. "I can tell you this has worked in every other city where it has been tried." The Metro Council meets at 4 p.m. at City Hall, 222 St. Louis St. See the full agenda here. —Stephanie Riegel
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