Building a Collaborative Community Safety Partnership in Baton Rouge

Posted May 16, 2023
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Community members of all ages sit in a conference room, engaging in an active discussion. One woman speaks as everyone directs their attention to her. Their faces show varying degrees of solemnity and concern.

To cre­ate com­mu­ni­ties where chil­dren and their fam­i­lies feel safe, the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion rec­og­nizes that youth- and com­mu­ni­ty-focused invest­ments — such as those aimed at reduc­ing youth home­less­ness, increas­ing eco­nom­ic oppor­tu­ni­ty and trans­form­ing sys­tems — are inte­gral parts of reduc­ing vio­lence, includ­ing gun deaths, because they address the root causes.

The city of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has under­tak­en such a com­pre­hen­sive approach. May­or Sharon West­on Broome’s ini­tia­tive Safe, Hope­ful, Healthy BR (SHH­BR) brings togeth­er com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers, part­ners, local agen­cies and civic lead­ers to com­bat vio­lence. This includes:

  • com­mu­ni­ty residents;
  • rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Baton Rouge mayor’s office;
  • local law enforcement;
  • com­mu­ni­ty-based orga­ni­za­tions like the Baton Rouge Com­mu­ni­ty Street Team and the gun vio­lence pre­ven­tion group C.H.A.N.G.E.; and
  • local chap­ters of youth-serv­ing orga­ni­za­tions like the Big Bud­dy pro­gram and the YMCA.

Increas­ing Pub­lic Safety

The ini­tia­tive takes a three-pronged approach to pub­lic safety:

  • Com­mu­ni­ty-based pub­lic safe­ty pro­grams put deci­sions in the hands of the com­mu­ni­ty to pro­tect their neighborhoods.
  • Approach­es that focus on men­tal well-being by address­ing unre­solved trau­ma and ongo­ing men­tal health issues with­in communities.
  • Law enforce­ment agen­cies pro­tect and serve their communities.

The approach is yield­ing promis­ing results. In 2022, the city-parish saw a 23% reduc­tion in homicides.

SHH­BR has deployed response teams and out­reach teams in the days, weeks and months after a gun vio­lence inci­dent in order to mit­i­gate the chance of retal­i­a­tion,” says Court­ney Scott, assis­tant chief admin­is­tra­tive offi­cer for May­or Broom. While out­reach efforts aren’t always suc­cess­ful in defus­ing or pre­vent­ing fur­ther vio­lence, we believe that embrac­ing the shared vision of SHHBR’s part­ners leads to a greater col­lec­tive con­tri­bu­tion to the safe­ty of Baton Rouge.”

Month­ly pub­lic safe­ty meet­ings ensure effec­tive col­lab­o­ra­tion among SHH­BR part­ners. While all atten­dees are invit­ed to par­tic­i­pate in the con­ver­sa­tion, these meet­ings put the voic­es of the peo­ple of Baton Rouge at the cen­ter of safe­ty con­ver­sa­tions. Part­ners can have a com­mu­nal meal, par­tic­i­pate in learn­ing ini­tia­tives and share strate­gies or updates.

Learn About Improv­ing Com­mu­ni­ty Safe­ty Using a Pub­lic Health Approach

This post is related to:

Popular Posts

View all blog posts   |   Browse Topics

Youth with curly hair in pink shirt

blog   |   June 3, 2021

Defining LGBTQ Terms and Concepts

A mother and her child are standing outdoors, each with one arm wrapped around the other. They are looking at each other and smiling. The child has a basketball in hand.

blog   |   August 1, 2022

Child Well-Being in Single-Parent Families