BRAVE officers and LSU researchers work to curb crime

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POSTED: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - 8:30pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 11:43am

LSU researchers are working to help them and other local agencies solve Baton Rouge's crime problem. They teamed up with the BRAVE project to help them fight crime smarter.

"We don't have the money and don't have the resources to play by the gut by intuition. It's got to be by the numbers," Edward Shihadeh, LSU Humanities and Social Sciences professor, explained.

He says his colleagues look at data collected from local law enforcement. They also met with small groups in the community. The idea was to find out what 70805 residents say are the biggest problems in the zipcode.

The data can be used to track crime rates, and advise BRAVE officers the best places to patrol.

"It's just a bad time in Baton Rouge to be a criminal," Shihadeh described.

"The people who know the most about this are the police officers on the beat on the ground, so one of the strengths of BRAVE is really linking the research component with law enforcement," Tracey Rizzuto, Assistant LSU Professor of Human Resources, said.

Researchers also find connections between criminals. They say there are 30 street gangs in the city. The work will help them keep track of who's in gang,which gangs are fighting, and which gangs are working together.

"These groups are not static they are fluid they are changing. Individuals who might have been affiliated with a group at one point in time may now have a different allegiance," Rizzuto explained.

They say the Brave Program needs to expand.

"We've found that sometimes when you press down on one area sometimes it can pop up in another," Shihadeh described.

"Dealing with crime just in the 70805 and not in 70802 is like putting a fire out in half the building. It kind of works, but you have got to do it in other places as well. "

District Attorney Hillar Moore wants to expand BRAVE to the 70802; however, he needs to find funding for the expansion first.

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