BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Glen Oaks area recently underwent a major overhaul. Community leaders said a neighborhood effort to improve the neighborhood's appearance can be seen in a report that shows a significant d rop in violent crime.
People who live in Glen Oaks West believe a culture can change a community. Many homeowners have lived through many changes in the last three decades.
Glen Oaks West Homeowners Association President Charman Hebert has been living there for 32 years. She remembers not being able to walk down her own street. That was just a couple of years ago. She said things are different now.
"I feel now that I am in a safe environment. I feel that everyone knows their neighbors now. I feel we communicate, we look out for one another, we could see the changes," Charman Hebert said.
The changes are laid out in the Baton Rouge Crime Statistics reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigations. In the last five years, homicide is down 67 percent in Glen Oaks West. Burglaries are down by 26 percent, and robberies are down by 24 percent.
Pastor Donald Hunter of New Beginning Baptist Church helped lead the effort to bring positive change to Glen Oaks West.
"We had neighborhood fellowships, and we have gone door to door at least five times where we literally have gotten to know our neighborhoods," Pastor Donald Hunter said.
The neighborhood pitched in to improve their environment. Church groups from outside the community joined in to help fund 91 new street lights, put new roofs on four homes, and clear overgrown grass in ditches.
They said it is also not uncommon to see East Baton Rouge Sheriff's deputies lending a hand while they help keep Glen Oaks safe.
Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said it is a team effort.
"Any efforts in law enforcement are short lived without community involvement, and this is a perfect example of what people working together from the entire community can accomplish," Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said.
While violent crime has decreased in Glen Oaks West, the area has seen a 75 percent increase in arson. Community leaders predict they will see an improvement with continued efforts to eliminate blight.