Gardere Initiative meets to discuss crime, blight
BATON ROUGE - A panel of city leaders listened and engaged with an audience of concerned residents about crime and other problems in south Baton Rouge.
Their main concern is crime in the Gardere Area off Burbank Drive. The town hall meeting was about the Gardere Initiative, a group addressing substance abuse and other social ills in the Gardere area that adversely affect children and subdivisions.
Twice this year, authorities arrested dozens of people connected to the Big Money Block Boyz, a gang police say was committing murder, dealing drugs and shooting up houses. Last month, a double homicide that still remains unsolved.
The panel tonight included Corey Amundson from the U.S. Attorney's Office, Bryan Harmon of DPW, Representative Patricia Smith, EBRSO Captain Andrew Stevens and District Attorney Hiller Moore.
Stevens took the bulk of the crime questions in the beginning of the meeting, answering questions about EBRSO community involvement and crime statistics.
In April, EBRSO opened their new Gardere substation. Some residents agree them being there helps.
Stevens says he has six units patrolling the Gardere area between River Road and Airline Highway. He also said homicides, vehicle burglaries and residential burglaries are down from last year.
"Without the commuity, we're not ever going to be able to lower the stats down," said Stevens.
The Gardere Initiative has events throughout the year including youth mentoring and community meetings.