BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome announced her Safe, Hopeful, Healthy Initiative, during a news conference Saturday, Sept. 19. The initiative is using $2.5 million in CARES Act Funding.
Since the pandemic, there has been a spike in crime across the country, including Baton Rouge. Mayor Broome is now producing a plan using $2.5 million in CARES Act money to combat the increase in crime, but she says ending this problem starts within the community.
“Baton Rouge Police Department can’t solve it all. In order to have an effective formula to address this uptick we have to have a variety of stakeholders at the table,” she says.
The mayor and stakeholders from the community will help the program focus on four pillars.
First prioritizing community-based public safety to promote more of a partnership between the community and law enforcement.
“We have to work with law enforcement, we have to work with each other in order to make this better,” says Emanuel “Boo Milton” who sits on the advisory board for Cities United.
They’ll also focus on stabilizing youth and families specializing on what residents want to see in their neighborhoods and what improvements can be put in place.
“They would like to see crime reduced, like to see their neighborhood clean, they would like to see new housing opportunities, diverse housing. But they don’t necessarily understand and know how those things come about. So, our goal is to bring them in and teach them that process, help them understand what that looks like,” says Samuel Sanders who is executive director the Mid City Redevelopment Alliance.
The next focus includes zeroing in on investment across the entire community, helping businesses thrive and encouraging folks to find pride in where they live.
“Because a lot of times the communities and the businesses community are not connected as well as they should be. So, this is an effort to tie pride, to tie beautification, to tie economic development and community development together using these CARE Act funds,” says Jerry Jones who is the executive director Impact North Baton Rouge. The fourth pillar will expand health access in all policies.
Mayor Broome does plan to target certain areas such as 70805 and 70802 because these areas have the highest crime rate this year. Overall, the process will not happen overnight, but leaders believe the Baton Rouge community will latch onto the new proposal.
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Mayor Broome’s initiative is aimed to combat the increase in crime following the global coronavirus pandemic. She stated that 70805 and 70802 are two zip codes that have seen the highest rate of violence this year.
“We know that violence, at its core, is induced by a number of factors; we know crime is more likely to occur when people are unable to meet their most basic needs: an education, a stable income, transportation, or access to nutritious food and healthcare,” said Mayor Broome. “The only way for us to move forward is to take a comprehensive, all-encompassing, approach to address the issues facing our community.”
The initiative will work to interrupt the cycle of violence, strengthen family support, revitalize neighborhoods, promote academic education, and prioritize access to care.
This will be done by implementing mentorship programs, connecting residents to social services, improving the opportunities available within the community through youth development programs, and connecting our residents to neighborhood-based public benefits and supportive services.
The four pillars of Mayor Broome’s Safe, Hopeful, Healthy Initiative are:
· Prioritize Community-Based Public Safety
· Stabilize Youth, Family & Community
· Expand Health In All Policies
· Create Equitable Community Development
The initiative will work to align resources and partnerships between diverse stakeholders.
This will accelerate progress on complex social conditions, policies, and practices to advance health, public safety, and wellbeing in Baton Rouge.
Efforts within the Safe, Hopeful, Healthy Initiative will be informed by analytics from the Baton Rouge Police Department and public health data.
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