As we reported in a recent edition of The Advocate, crime-prevention districts are becoming more popular in Baton Rouge. The districts, typically created along neighborhood lines, assess a parcel fee on property in the neighborhood to help fund extra police patrols and security lighting. Creation of the districts is subject to approval by the Legislature and assessing a parcel fee is subject to voter approval by registered voters within the proposed districts. The districts typically hire off-duty police officers and sheriff’s deputies to conduct the extra patrols.
As concern about crime in Baton Rouge rises, crime-prevention districts have become more numerous. A proposed constitutional amendment on the Nov. 6 statewide ballot would regulate how such districts are formed. The amendment would require more public notice before proposed crime prevention districts are considered by state lawmakers.
We understand why crime prevention districts are popular. They can be an important tool in the fight against crime. However, such districts shouldn’t be considered a cure-all for crime in our area. Reducing crime also requires effort in troubled neighborhoods where such crime-prevention districts don’t exist. We’re encouraged that local law enforcement officials recently announced plans to focus resources and seek more citizen collaboration in high-crime areas of Baton Rouge. We hope those efforts prove successful.