Trust key ingredient to fighting local crime

This news analysis ran on the Opinion page of The Advocate on June 27, 2012. View the page here. Or, on The Advocate’s website here. 

In an unlikely partnership, residents of the city’s crime-plagued 70805 ZIP code, many of whom have long distrusted the Baton Rouge Police Department, are now saying they are ready to help the department in its new efforts to fight violent crime in their neighborhood.

The north Baton Rouge ZIP code area accounts for 30 percent of the city’s homicides but only 13 percent of its population.

The success of the Baton Rouge Area Violence Elimination program, or BRAVE, hinges on the ability of the BRAVE unit — made up of five elite officers — to build trust with the community’s law-abiding residents, who are often too afraid to report criminal activity out of fear of retaliation, said Lt. Todd Lee, who helped draft the plan.

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