A mother’s wailing, tormented cry over the senseless killing of her three-year-old son cut through anyone’s sense of decency. “You killed my baby” sobbed the Baton Rouge mother just last week. Her child was killed in his bed by a stray bullet in a drive by shooting.

Jim Brown

Just another day of irrational violence in cities all over Louisiana. Baton Rouge and New Orleans have become war zones. Shreveport and Monroe have some of the highest murder rates in the nation. There were 923 violent crimes reported for every 100,000 people in Shreveport last year, compared to 399 incidents per 100,000 nationwide.

What can be done to stop the surge of violence in the Bayou State? “Why not form a government-community agency of professionals whose job it will be to build a comprehensive road map to safety,” suggest columns in the state’s two largest newspapers. But we have formed committees and studied the crime problem for years with nothing concrete to show for it. The criminal violence continues.

Some suggest a variety of social and economic incentives that need to be put into place. But such programs will require not only a massive financial influx of taxpayer dollars, but will also take years to implement. We need effective programs now.

So what to do? Here’s my suggestion for this governor and legislators. It’s a similar plan to what I suggested back in 1987 when I ran for the state’s highest office. First, allocate in the state’s budget 100 million dollars for grants to cities that crack down on crime. I mean really crack down.

“Oh, but the funds are not available,” legislators will protest. Hey, Louisiana is flush with funds, and the current budget is loaded with pet projects packed in by legislators in Baton Rouge. What’s more important, a rock ‘n’ roll museum in New Orleans, funds for more marijuana growing and dispensing agencies, and legal fees for insider reapportionment help? Or dollars to stop citizens from being slaughtered in their own homes?

Here is what should be done.

Require a strong “no broken windows” program. That means tearing down abandoned buildings, requiring grass to be mowed (no tall weeds), see that graffiti is painted over, and no trash allowed to pile up. Put a lien on any property that fails to comply. And levy serious fines on those property owners who failed to conform. Also improve and brighten streetlights in these high crime areas. Blighted areas and darkened neighborhoods have proven to be a cesspool for crime.

Stop and Frist? Some say it’s unconstitutional to profile. But we do it all the time. Doesn’t the TSA profile anyone that tries to board a plane? If some kid comes to take your teenage daughter out on a date and has purple hair and a nose ring, aren’t you going to make some assumptions and profile? Of course you will. And you will take appropriate action despite your daughter’s protestations. If a crime has been committed supposedly by a teenage male Asian American, and some one of that description is in the neighborhood, he should be stopped, questioned, and search for a weapon. I would have no problem being stopped and searched if I was in a high crime area, and the police were in pursuit. Hey, you may have to give a little if it means being a lot safer.

Cities and local communities should develop hotspots or “criminal grids” that indicate the most violent concentrated areas. Then direct a high visible law enforcement presence in these areas where we know more violent crime takes place.

Mandatory curfews for any child under 16 years old. Mama said it best. Nothing good happens after midnight. Why allow some 14-year-old to roam the streets at 2 o’clock in the morning? Without a compelling reason to be up and about, these kids should be home asleep.

Local communities that Institute such programs listed above should benefit and get grant money. For those who don’t, shame on them. It’s time to quit talking about preventing crime, and actually taking a bite out of crime. There are other proposals, and this is just the beginning. But citizens like me are sick and tired of looking over their shoulder, and constantly worrying about our family safety. These suggestions are no brainers. We are looking towards the governor and our legislators to take action. It should be done now.

Peace and Justice

Jim Brown

Jim Brown’s syndicated column appears each week in numerous newspapers throughout the nation and on websites worldwide. You can read all his past columns and see continuing updates at http://www.jimbrownusa.com. Readers can also review books by Jim Brown and many others he has published by going to http://www.thelisburnpress.com.

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