BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Stopping crime at the source is the goal of a new community-led initiative that launched Tuesday night.
Leaders plan to hold several meetings as part of a new federal grant program designed to reduce crime six communities in North Baton Rouge: Istrouma, Midtown, Eden Park, Greenville Extension, Smiley Heights, and Melrose East.
The city was awarded a Bryne Criminal Justice Innovation (BCJI) grant in 2014 to address chronic crime problems in those communities.
City leaders have spent the last year working with the communities to find out two things: what drives crime and how to stop it. Six strategies were planned such as engaging youngsters, training a potential workforce, fighting blight.
The turnout was low at Tuesday night's meeting, which is another symptom of an area with troubles.
"There's a lot of places for people to put their hands in the pot and get to work so we're very hopeful that the community will do just that," said Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Gail Grover.
"There's a lot here to offer, but we just need to find out what that silver bullet is that's going to get everybody out to become engaged," said resident Roena Wilford.
Several more meetings are ahead to help explain the new "Hope Zone" initiatives.
Monday, March 28, at 4 p.m.
Saia Park at 855 North Donmoor Ave.
Wednesday, March 30 at 4 p.m.
Gus Young Park at 4200 Gus Young Ave.