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Residents to vote on crime prevention

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BATON ROUGE - Voters in four subdivisions will decide in November if they want to pay fees for more security. They'll vote to create a Crime Prevention District, requiring mandatory fees from residents for off-duty law enforcement patrols.

For Southern Heights, Riverbend, and Woodlawn Estates subdivisions, the crime districts will be a new thing. Residents in the fourth subdivision, Shenandoah, will vote to renew an existing district.

In Woodland Estates, the homeowners association already pays for security patrols. However, association dues are voluntary and it can only afford security for five hours a week.

"As time goes on, the homeowners don't see any crime going on and so they don't think the association needs the money," said Susan Albus with the homeowners association.

If approved, Woodlawn Estates residents would pay no more than $150 the first year. The crime district would exist for a 10 year period. The homeowners association can raise fees once a year at a maximum of 10% a year. The most Woodlawn Estates residents can be charged is $300. The fees will be added to residents property tax bills.

"We felt this was something we need to do to maintain our property values," said Albus.

East Baton Rouge parish already has 19 subdivisions with crime districts, 13 of those were established in the last 3 years.

The fee vote will be on the November 21st runoff ballot.

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