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An outline for fighting violent crime:

An outline for fighting violent crime:

 

Reducing violent crime in Shreveport requires both short-term and long-term actions, and faithfulness to those actions. Here is an outline of how the City could start:

• All hands on deck. We must ensure that all our post-certified police officers are well equipped, competitively paid and committed to the sacrifices required to perform community-oriented policing. We must update our policies and procedures to allow non-post certified employees an expanded role in our policing service so that our men and women behind the badge can refocus their efforts to make Shreveport one of America’s safest communities.

• In collaboration with community leaders and our SPD Administration, I will implement our Community First Initiative. We will better focus the roles of our Community Liaison Officers and I fully expect them to be thought leaders amongst our police and public. Each CLO will be expected to visit every community center in their district each day, establish relationships with localized citizens and provide intelligence to patrol officers and supervisors. Under my administration, each patrol officer and supervisor will be expected to maintain a direct line of communication with neighborhood leaders and concerned citizens. Shreveport has a community center and/or public building in every Council district within our community. We will better utilize them as resource centers for victim assistance, police/public relations and safe city education programs.

• Demonstrate to police officers that they have the respect and appreciation of the city administration and the public by prioritizing competitive salaries and equipment upgrades for our civil service employees in each year’s budget. Our officers must not be afraid to do their jobs responsibly.

• I will work with the SPD Administration and Property Standards Enforcement and other city departments like zoning and permits to enhance coordination and cross-training among the units. When appropriate, I will expect SPD to write companion criminal citations for each civilian citation issued by Property Standards Enforcement. Enforcement of care of premises and property standards helps to prevent further deterioration of neighborhoods. Blighted buildings breed crime. This is the so-called “broken windows” approach that has succeeded in many communities.

• Refocus the resources of SPAR and provide improved summer and after-school programming for pre-teens and teens to encourage mentoring and positive life choices. This can be accomplished at our community centers and public buildings and will provide an opportunity for SPD officers to create positive interactions with the most at-risk individuals in our community.

• Ensure that city parks and community centers are safe and well-maintained to host the summer and after-school programming.

In the long term, the City must work with the business community to create jobs for which currently unemployed and underemployed citizens qualify or could be trained. We must determine how to finance and deliver that training.

Blight and poverty breed crime as individuals perceive the benefits of criminal behavior to be a better option than lofty goals that seem unattainable.

Fighting crime is not a one-person job, or even a one-government job. It requires finding out what is working in other communities, bringing our community together to work for common goals, and realizing that every violent crime affects all of us, not just the immediate victims of the crime.

 

These are initial ideas, and I welcome the input of all citizens, those in law enforcement and those in neighborhoods, as we work together as one community.

We can do this. It will take all of us working together, but we can do this.