POSTED: Friday, April 5, 2013 - 11:15am
UPDATED: Friday, April 5, 2013 - 2:12pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — The BRAVE program has initiated a more active approach to crime reduction by identifying violent offenders and offering them help to rehabilitate.
The initiative identified 47 members of the community who have violent criminal records. Those offenders were asked to attend the first “call-in” meeting, which was held on Wednesday, April 3 at City Hall.
District Attorney Hillar Moor and the BRAVE Director explained that those who attended were offered assistance from the program for rehabilitation. That assistance includes, but is not limited to education opportunities, drug counseling, and mentorship.
Of the 47 who were invited to attend, 38 showed up. However, only 5 of those 38 individuals agreed to assistance.
In a press conference held on Friday, April 5, officials explained that the attendance rate, as well as the number of individuals who agreed to assistance, is actually higher than similar programs operating in cities across the nation.
Moore noted that the 42 individuals who did not agree to assistance will now be monitored under intense scrutiny. He said that if any of them are convicted of crimes in the future, he will tell the judge that they were offered this chance for rehabilitation, but declined. He will then ask for the harshest possible sentence in those cases.
In addition to announcing the new phase of the BRAVE program, officials noted that they believe the current efforts are helping to improve safety across the city.
They noted that homicides within the Baton Rouge city limits for 2013 are less when compared to 2012. When reporting the statistics they noted that 18 homicides were committed this time last year and that there have been 12 this year. However, they did not note that there were 3 additional negligent homicide investigations in 2013.
Officials concluded by saying that the Baton Rouge Police Department has seen a 40 percent reduction this year in calls for violent crimes within the 70805 zip code. Similarly, the department has seen a 47 percent reduction for all areas within city limits.
NBC33’s David Lippman was at the press conference today and will explain how the call-in program hopes to move forward and rehabilitate violent offenders in the city. He also went to neighborhoods within the 70805 area to find out if they think this new initiative will make a difference. He will have a full report at 5:00 and 6:30 p.m.