New initiative aims to curb gun violence after deadly start to 2021
BATON ROUGE – Violence in East Baton Rouge is showing no signs of slowing after the deadliest January on record. Monday night, a 3-year-old accidentally shot itself after finding a gun inside a home. The child is expected to be okay.
“This is an easy response to get gun locks in the hands of our citizens,” Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome said.
Holding a news conference Tuesday morning along with Baton Rouge Police and two mentoring organizations, Broome and community leaders introduced a new initiative to combat gun violence called ‘Project Safe Neighborhoods.’
“Part of the problem is economics. Part of our problem is education. Part of our problem is we have young people who have nothing to do… There are a lot of different reasons that we find ourselves in this situation, but we’re not able to solve the problem if we don’t get off our keisters,” said Michael Adams, the president of 100 Black Men - one of the organizations involved.
But after hearing from the different leaders, it was a man who lived in the neighborhood that really got the organizations excited.
Derius Crockett, who heard about the new conference, asked the Mayor how he could get young men like himself involved in sparking change. That’s exactly what Broome wanted to hear.
“Your response is music to my ears,” she said. "We need you to get people together and become an ambassador. It only takes a small group to be in agreement, and it can fuel change."
Another organization involved in Project Safe Neighborhoods is C.H.A.N.G.E.. They plan to walk around neighborhoods hit hard with crime and pass out flyers showcasing resources available, as well as provide gun locks to anyone who needs one.
Crockett liked what he heard. Many of the leaders took down his number to include him in the project. He knows change is needed.
“Anything they need me to do, I’m willing to do it,” he said. “We highlight rappers and entertainers. We should start highlighting real men. Wake up, go to work, use their hands and make a living for their family. That is not being glorified.”
C.H.A.N.G.E. will be visiting the Dixie area this Saturday and Eden Park on Feb. 20.
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