New law helps homeowners raise funds to fight crime | News
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB)- Individual neighborhoods are taking crime fighting into their own hands these days and a new bill signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal is aimed at giving them funding to do it.
The bill is an instrument to tax the people who live in three Mayfair neighborhoods in an effort to fight an increasing crime problem.
Back in December, Jarret Lacey, 22, was gunned down in the front yard of his house on Bellonia Drive near Staring Lane. That incident, among other lesser crimes, stimulated a move to create a crime prevention taxing district in the South Baton Rouge neighborhoods of Mayfair Park, Mayfair Park East and Mayfair Heights.
"I was asked by a group of citizens that live in Mayfair to bring this legislation," said state Rep. Franklin Foil, R-Baton Rouge. "They're concerned about the crime in their area and they want the ability to raise funds to hire off-duty police officers and security forces."
Homeowners in those neighborhoods will be asked to raise up to $140 each year. The money would be used to hire off-duty cops to do extra patrols. But, the money could be used for other things.
"There is some flexibility on how to implement the security procedure, but the testimony given at the legislature is they want to hire off-duty policemen to patrol the neighborhood," Foil explained.
According to the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office, it is the most effective way to use extra help. Sheriff's officials said the Gardere Crime Prevention District has been successful with the use of off-duty police instead of private security.
"They're effective, we find, if they are used in conjunction with law enforcement," said Casey Hicks with EBRSO. "So, that means you're employing off-duty police officers or sheriff's deputies that patrol the area in marked units and they work in conjunction with current law enforcement that's on staff."
The people that live in the district will have an opportunity to vote the tax on themselves at one of the regularly scheduled elections after a board is appointed.
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