House committee passes bills allowing neighborhoods to collect funds for crime prevention

Villa Del Rey Neighborhood
Villa Del Rey Neighborhood

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Two Baton Rouge neighborhoods moved one step closer to receiving permission to hold special elections to increase their taxes to fund beefing up crime prevention efforts.

The bills focusing on the Villa Del Rey and Tara neighborhoods passed out of committee without opposition.

Creating crime districts has been a popular idea by lawmakers for some time, especially the idea of creating them in East Baton Rouge Parish. The proposal calls for assessing property owners upwards of $100 per year to hire private security to patrol their neighborhoods.

State Rep. Erich Ponti, R-Baton Rouge, and state Rep. Alfred Williams, D-Baton Rouge, asked the Municipal Affairs Committee to allow their neighborhoods to tax themselves to prevent crime.

"Their concerns are similar to many neighborhoods in East Baton Rouge Parish," said Sheri Morris, attorney for Villa Del Rey. "They are crime prevention districts all around them and they feel like they, too, need some funds to supplement the current patrols. And so, this is their request to the legislature."

The measures and are now headed to the full House for consideration.

Copyright 2014 WAFB. All rights reserved.