The Baton Rouge Area Chamber’s mission is to lead economic development in the nine-parish region through business retention, expansion, and attraction and by working on public policy issues that affect economic development. BRAC would like to make clear its position regarding the effect of crime on economic development in East Baton Rouge Parish after the recent article titled “Firms question crime rate” on Nov. 19.
The Capital Region is seeing one of its best years from an economic development standpoint in the last five years. A variety of companies are being drawn to the region due to a number of reasons including our work force availability, favorable business climate, and quality of life. As these companies and their site-selection consultants explore the Baton Rouge area, questions about crime have been raised infrequently. As it was briefly pointed out in the article, BRAC has not seen the area lose a potential economic development deal because of the crime situation.
Business leaders do, however, view crime as an increasing concern to our region’s business climate and are working to ensure that it does not become an economic development issue for the region. Increasing economic opportunity, work force training, and educational attainment are a key part of the strategy.
In addition, BRAC’s Crime Issue Council is working with leaders of the criminal justice community toward potential solutions. The council was supportive of the recently launched Project BRAVE, a program designed to bring policing best practices to areas of high crime rates.
BRAC leaders are also supporting enhancements to public safety efforts and working towards other potential solutions. We commend the elected leaders, law enforcement and others involved in this effort for the work they have done so far and look forward to substantial improvement in the future.
Adam Knapp, president and CEO
Baton Rouge Area Chamber