BATON ROUGE – The Wedgewood neighborhood crime district could soon be expanded.
Baton Rouge State Representative Barry Ivey is moving a bill at the legislature that would expand the crime district and raise fees. That bill passed a house committee this morning.
Michael McCory has been living in the Wedgewood subdivision in east Baton Rouge for 12 years. He says it’s a nice and safe community and would not mind paying to keep it that way.
“If it keeps it cut down, I don’t mind. I have no problem if it increases the fees more,” McCory said.
The proposed house bill will renew the Wedgewood Crime Prevention District and would increase the annual fee for homeowners from $50 to eventually $150 over the next 10 years.
The bill would also expand the district to some nearby commercial areas including a nearby movie theater.
“This is simply a crime prevention district that needs to be able to collect money to provide services that it provides,” Barry said.
But some homeowners who live on a fixed income are against any increase in the fees. One owner says that there is also a lot of crime in the neighborhood that goes unreported.
The man did not want to speak on camera, but he told WBRZ News 2’s Earl Phelps that crime has affected virtually every home, including car burglaries and items stolen from car ports.
Community leaders in favor of the proposed increase say more money is needed to cover increasing costs for the two officers to patrol Wedgewood.
The bill has a long way to go before it can be passed. If it does become law, any fee increase must be approved by voters in the district.