Officials hoping Operation Cease Fire will curb crime

POSTED: Monday, February 27, 2012 - 7:00pm

UPDATED: Monday, February 27, 2012 - 7:04pm

Law enforcement leaders are taking a different approach to crime fighting. It’s called Operation Cease Fire. It’s a program that has worked in other big cities, like Boston and Chicago, where crime is prevalent. Now, Baton Rouge leaders hope they’ll have that same success here.

Under Operation Cease Fire, law enforcement will team up and crack down on Baton Rouge’s most violent groups.

“You let them know that you know who they are. You let them know who the leader is of their group, and you let them know that there’s a new game in town,” says East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore.

He says if one person in that group commits a violent crime, all of them will be punished.

“We’re going to do whatever we have to do to take your group down and dismantle the group.”

The program also looks to give offenders a way out of bad situations and that’s where the faith-based community comes in. “They’ll say ‘If you want a way out or you want some assistance with education, health, driver’s license, living, we’re here to help you.’” Moore explains.

There’s another element. People who have formerly been through the prison system will take a stand against violence as well. “Get people closest to the violence,” says U.S. Attorney Donald Cazayoux. “Get these men to explain to younger men the consequences of their actions.”

In other cities, programs like this have cut the homicides in half. “We’re not reinventing the wheel here,” says Moore. “We’re just using a technique that has been proven.”

It’s a unique approach to a big problem, but city leaders say it’s worth a shot.

“I think people are desperate for a solution right now,” Cazayoux says.

They’re hoping Operation Cease Fire could be the answer Baton Rouge has been looking for. “This is the time where I think you want to be in this position,” Moore says. “I think we can make some big changes.”

Moore says the program will cost at least $250,000 to really accomplish the city’s goals. He says Baton Rouge will apply for a federal grant that might be able to give the program some extra cash.

Law enforcement leaders say Operation Cease Fire is in its beginning stages, but they’re excited to see so many different agencies and community leaders on the same page.

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