BRAVE to expand with $1 million federal grant

Mayor-President Kip Holden announced Thursday that Baton Rouge has been awarded a $1 million federal grant to expand the Baton Rouge Area Violence Elimination project, a widely lauded anti-gang initiative that has been credited with reducing the city’s murder rate over the past year.

The grant will be implemented over a three-year period, expanding the project from the crime-ridden 70805 ZIP code to neighborhoods within the 70802 ZIP code, said Scott Dyer, a spokesman for Holden.

A news conference is planned for Monday to discuss details of the grant, which had been months in the making.

BRAVE is a data-driven, community policing project that targets the city’s gangs and most violent neighborhoods.

The primary focus of the program has been the 70805 ZIP code — an area generally bordered by Airline Highway to the north and east, Choctaw Drive to the south and the Mississippi River to the west.

That area has seen an average of 20 homicides a year the past three years.

The 70802 ZIP code has also been an epicenter of violence in the Capital City and had the most killings last year with 23.

The area is bordered by Choctaw Drive to the north, the Mississippi River and Nicholson Drive to the west, LSU to the south, and North Foster Drive, North Street and Park Boulevard to the east.