Viewpoint: May 16, 2012

It's called BRAVE or the Baton Rouge Area Violence Elimination project and we think it's a "brave" new step forward. The new project, which is a joint effort with area law enforcement, community, faith and private organizations targets specific areas of crime - right down to the zip code and street level.

The first area on the list is the 70805 zip code, specifically the neighborhoods around the Airline Highway/Choctaw areas of north Baton Rouge. This is roughly a three square-mile area that accounts for only a little more than 13 percent of the city's population, *but* is responsible for 25 percent of its total police calls, 30 percent of homicides and 40 percent of gun assaults.

The project has many aspects which have already worked in cities like Boston and Los Angeles.  The BRAVE team will call in violent offenders and show them specific information to let them know they are indeed being watched. The next step is aggressive, tough prosecution.

While the program is filled with plenty of tough love, there are educational and faith-based opportunities offered as well. We're glad authorities are tracking crime in a new and scientific way. If they can earn the trust of residents in high crime neighborhoods, it's our hope more people will join the effort to make our streets safer.