BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The program to reduce crime in East Baton Rouge Parish is set to take on another zip code racked with trouble.
Almost one year after the Baton Rouge Area Violence Elimination project, or BRAVE, enforcement officers took to the 70805 zip code, they're now looking to take on more.
"My cousin got shot right around that corner some years back over an incident he had nothing to do with," said Bobby Thomas, who lives in 70802.
Thomas has lived on Kentucky St. in the 70802 zip code for the past 40 years. In his time, he said he's seen just about everything in his neighborhood.
"Murder, prostitution, drug dealing, armed robberies, gang fights," said Thomas.
The 70802 zip is just south of the 70805 zip code. For the past year, the 70805 zip code is where the BRAVE looking to expand into 70802 zip code enforcement has focused its attention.
In that one year, BRAVE has confiscated 151 illegal guns, 7,403 grams of marijuana, cocaine and heroin, 1,556 illegal pills and 32,775 grams of synthetic drugs.
Many of those numbers come out of the high crime-ridden 70805 zip code, but then there are tips that start in that zip and branch out to other parts of town like a major drug bust on Thomas Delpit last year in October. Tens of thousands of dollars were found along with more than 100 pounds of synthetic marijuana. That drug bust happened in 70802, the second-highest zip code with problems.
"We found through the statistics, 70802 kind of mirrors 70805 now, so in the future - near future - we're trying to move our BRAVE unit into 70802," said BRPD's Provisional Police Chief Carl Dabadie.
BRAVE also helps investigate murder cases, pick up suspects or simply go talk to witnesses. The program is based on community policing helping the people and listening to residents instead of uniform patrol officers who are dispatched from call to call.
"It gives them a little more time to become familiar with the community and build that trust and bond," said Chief Dabadie. "Having that phone call come and say, 'Hey, I know who did this and this,' is extremely helpful. We can't put a value on how helpful it is to us."
Thomas said the mere presence of the BRAVE officers will begin doing the trick.
"It scares the hell out of them. When they see them cars, everybody vacate and duck off and they stay in their little duck holes. They know who the BRAVE team is and one thing is the BRAVE team isn't playing with," said Thomas. "It's going to stop a lot of things from going on because ain't too many people trying to live in jail right now."
Chief Dabadie said they are set to have another meeting with District Attorney Hillar Moore on when BRAVE will officially expand to include 70802.