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North Baton Rouge receives federal grant to fund crime fighting efforts

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BATON ROUGE - The City of Baton Rouge and community partners announced they’ll hold a series of meeting in the coming weeks as part of a new federal grant program aimed at reducing crime in six North Baton Rouge communities.

The Bryne Criminal Justice Innovation (BCJI) Grant is one of the Department of Justice’s signature programs under the White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative that seeks to decrease criminal activity in communities by reshaping the factors which contribute to criminal and illegal behavior.

The city was awarded the BCJI grant in 2014 to address the chronic crime problems that affect the communities of Istrouma, Midtown, Eden Park, Greenville Extension, Smiley Heights and Melrose East.

Some of the problems that have been identified in previous meetings and surveys are blight, lack of youth activities and programs, unemployment, under-employment and poor working relationship between law enforcement and residents.

The interconnected neighborhoods have also been renamed “Hope Zones” as strategies are put in place to address crime factors. Community forums, blight education workshops and employment training are just a few of the measures being taken in these areas.

The first Hope Zone community forum on crime is scheduled for Mar. 7 at 6 p.m. at the Baton Rouge Community College campus on Acadian Thruway at 3250 N. Acadian Thruway E. The program will also offer a work readiness workshop series to begin on Apr. 7 and a blight educational workshop on Apr. 12. Both of those programs will be held at the Martin Luther King Community Center at 400 Gus Young Ave.

The Hope Zone Outreach Team will also hold a series of upcoming Family Fun Night events for residents with the schedule as follows:

Tuesday, March 22, at 5 p.m. @ Friendship Capitol High School
1000 N. 23rd St, Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Monday, March 28, at 4 p.m. @ Saia Park
855 North Donmoor Ave., Baton Rouge, La 70815

Wednesday, March 30 at 4 p.m. @ Gus Young Park
4200 Gus Young Ave., Baton Rouge, LA 70802

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