Residents gather to help high crime rate community
BATON ROUGE - When it comes to the needs for residents in one under-served area of Baton Rouge, a group is reaching out with help by starting an annual community gathering to address their concerns.
Residents gathered at a park in Brookstown to offer solutions to the problems they have.
"I have some great neighbors. I think it's a great place to live," Brookstown resident Derrick Jordan said.
Jordan lives in Brookstown on Clayton Drive, a part of northwest Baton Rouge that police consider a "hot zone."
"We have a few problems that need to be addressed," Jordan said.
There were 170 murders in Baton Rouge last year, some them in Brookstown, where authorities say being shot is the number one cause of death for black men.
"I think we need community policing. I think neighborhood watch," Jordan said.
"I grew up with a lot of friends in this area, and people are often forgotten about," Laramie Griffin with Victory Over Louisiana Violence said.
Griffin organized the community gathering at Howell Community Park Sunday where biodegradable balloons were released. Only a handful turned out to help residents get access to the services they need, like free mental health resources, suicide prevention counseling and help to prevent deadly drug overdosing.
"The services that you have should be in your community," Griffin said. "You can forget about the people who are dealing with low income, who are dealing with gas stations not being close. People now are dealing with high crime areas. People need the help."
And has far as Jordan is concerned, community gatherings are at least a step in the right direction.
"Steady going back, addressing these issues, something will get done," Jordan said.
Despite the low turn out, organizers plan to have more community meetings in this area, letting folks know that there is help for them available.