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Crime forum ignites woman to take action

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Thursday, March 1, 2012 - 6:08pm

Anne Harrison spends three days a week in the most dangerous part of the city.

"This is the 70805 zip code," she says, pointing to an area on the map. "This is the highest homicide rate in the area."

She works with victims of crime and poverty. "They're afraid to come out of their houses," she explains. "They're the ones who have bars on their windows. They're the ones that can't answer their door with any comfort because they don't know what's on the other side of the door."

When she heard about a town hall meeting on crime, Harrison just knew she had to be there. "I thought there were so many important issues brought up," she says. "Truth was told. Problems were identified and a challenge was made. What are you going to do?"

Since that forum, she's already started to see a change in herself. "I have seen an awareness," she says. "I have certainly been talking to everyone I know, and honestly asking the question 'where were you that night?' because it was so important."

Harrison has been volunteering with Hope Ministries for two years. It's an organization that already plays a big part in tackling crime. They have several different programs to help the people living in their community.

"There's a direct correlation between poverty and crime and what we've been doing affects the poverty rate and by affecting the poverty rate, we're affecting the crime rate," says Janet Simmons with Hope Ministries.

Now, Harrison is hoping others can share her passion for making Baton Rouge safer. "In hearing their stories, you want to help," she explains. "I'm challenging myself to think what can I do as a single person to make it better and that's a challenge that I took seriously."

She's hoping that forum was the spark needed to ignite an entire community. "We all have to face this," she says. "We have to face it as a united community."

Hope Ministries will host an event with Father Greg Boyle on March 29th. He works closely with young people to help stop gang violence, and he's going to tell his story to the folks in Baton Rouge. If you want to attend, buy your tickets at www.hopebr.org. It's $50 for a ticket and $500 for a table of ten. The event starts at 6:30 at the Renaissance Baton Rouge Hotel. Doors open at 6:00.

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