Our Views: Collaboration on truancy

Crime statistics released by the Baton Rouge Police Department show that reported rapes, murders and robberies increased in Baton Rouge last year. Stopping that cycle of violence is a job that can’t be left to law enforcement agencies alone.

That’s why we’re heartened by the efforts of Baton Rouge’s Family and Youth Service Center, which opened last August to deal with truant youngsters.

Students who skip school are much more likely to engage in criminal activity. Local officials are doing the right thing in trying to get these youngsters back on track before they enter the criminal justice system.

The center, located on Government Street, brings together a number of educational, social service and law enforcement agencies under one roof to assess truant youngsters and determine what counseling or services they need to do better in life. Often, these interventions mean getting an entire family involved in solutions.

Initial funding for the service center came from the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board, the city-parish government, the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office and the 19th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, which each committed $100,000 for the center’s first three years of operation.

We commend these agencies for collaborating to help these troubled youngsters. Simply putting more police officers on the street will have limited success in stemming crime. Addressing the root causes of crime requires the kinds of teamwork demonstrated by the Family and Youth Service Center.

We hope the center proves successful.