Mayor-President says crime is coming down, points to Summer of Hope initiative
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Now that the mayor’s Summer of Hope initiative has wrapped up, what do the results show? Are Baton Rouge’s streets any safer than they were a year ago? The full report won’t be made public until Wednesday, Sept. 14, but from what was presented Monday, the numbers appear to be trending down slowly but surely.
Capitol-area residents demanded change after a year of record-breaking violent crime. In response, Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome launched her Summer of Hope initiative to intervene with the crime plaguing the community. Her team hit the streets in vulnerable neighborhoods between Memorial Day and the last week of August. On Monday, Sept. 12, the mayor shared some of the impacts this had on the city.
“It wasn’t just we’re throwing a party here, we’re doing this, we’re gonna put some people out there. Everything we did was intentional and strategic. Over 12 weeks, we hosted, sponsored, and partnered in 125 events with 226 community organizations, resulting in key outcomes,” said Broome.
One of those outcomes is the Youth Workforce Experience.
According to the data presented Monday, teenagers and young adults between the ages of 14 and 24 completed nearly 150,000 hours of work, learning, or volunteer experience. Canvassers also knocked on doors to connect residents in areas of disinvestment with resources.
“We spoke with more than 33,000 community members and recorded their needs and suggestions to improve public safety in their neighborhoods,” Broome added.
Some of those needs included quality housing, childcare, essential baby products, jobs and education, mental health, and street lighting, as well as rental assistance. Nearly $48 million was given to those struggling to pay rent. But how does violent crime compare to last summer?
“We saw there was an improvement in 4 out of 5 categories of violent crime,” Broome explained.
Breaking down the numbers, Mayor Broome says homicides were down 25%, fatal shootings down by 15%, non-fatal shootings by 1.3%, stabbings by 51%, robberies by 12%, and sexual offenses by 6%. There was, however, an increase of 6% in assault and battery charges.
One of the things she did say that could use improvement is getting the word out to more people about resources that are available. She says she and her team are looking at ways to make those improvements for other programs that will be coming down the pipeline.
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