The Baton Rouge Partnership for the Prevention of Juvenile Gun Violence targets the most chronic violent youths up to age 21 from two high-crime Zip code areas. Juveniles and young adults on probation for gun-related offenses are designated as “Eigers,” named after the Swiss mountain, one of the world’s most difficult to climb. This concept has helped enormously to mobilize the community to contribute in myriad ways to the program, to help Eigers overcome their problems. Nearly 300 community agencies and citizens are involved in some way.
The partnership designed a comprehensive strategy with four specific goals:
The organizational structure of the Baton Rouge partnership emerged from the project strategies that were developed during several program development workshops involving law enforcement, the courts, the juvenile justice system, community service providers, and the faith community. The structure of the partnership is simple and informal, consisting of two standing committees with specified decision-making responsibilities: the Executive Committee (program policy or planning) and the Judicial Advisory Committee (legal advice and planning). The program also has several task forces—Enforcement, Intervention, and Prevention—which are responsible for operational decisions in carrying out the comprehensive plan. A fourth community mobilization task force, ACT NOW, is a new grassroots organization chaired by a pastor who represents the African-American Baptist churches in the target areas. The Baton Rouge Chief of Police chairs the partnership.
Operation Eiger has developed three linked prevention, intervention, and suppression strategies. Intensive supervision and strict enforcement of conditions of probation (suppression) by police probation teams form one key component. The probation conditions are linked to risk factors associated with each youth’s violent behaviors, which are addressed with program interventions. A comprehensive treatment plan (intervention) is developed for each Eiger that includes services for family members. A Life Skills Academy, pioneered by the Partnership for the Prevention of Juvenile Gun Violence and conducted in local churches, offers a wide variety of education, training, and rehabilitation options for Eigers. Prevention is the third main Operation Eiger component; the program works to build youths’ resilience in the community by addressing existing risk factors and thus prevent the spawning of future Eigers.
A comparison of recidivism rates between the Eigers group and a comparison group showed positive results. Forty-three percent of the treatment group was rearrested for a criminal offense during the monitoring period, compared with 72 percent of the comparison group. Sixteen percent of the treatment group was rearrested for a violent crime, compared with 41 percent of the comparison group. And 16 percent were rearrested for a gun-related crime, compared with 25 percent of the comparison group. All of these differences were statistically significant, using a logistic regression analysis. But when the researchers constructed a group of the Eigers youth who were matched to the comparison group on age, gender, number of priors, and nature of criminal history and reanalyzed the above data, the differences were no longer statistically significant.
However, the evaluation of areawide program effects was quite positive. An analysis of firearm offenses in Baton Rouge showed a decrease in firearm robberies in the target area during the three years following the start of the program. The average number dropped from 110 to 92—a 16 percent decrease—while in the surrounding areas there was only a 6 percent decrease, from 105 to 99. This is a significant difference. The time series analysis also showed a decrease in the percentage of firearm homicides prior to the implementation of the partnership (75 percent); however, an even greater decrease was sustained throughout the evaluation period (60 percent). This decrease is significantly lower than in the surrounding areas.
National Gang Center and OJJDP Model Programs Guide: Effective program
Department of Juvenile Services
East Baton Rouge Parish
8333 Veterans Memorial Boulevard
Baton Rouge, LA 70807
Phone: (225) 354-1220
Fax: (225) 354-1317
Lizotte, A. J., and Sheppard, D. (2001). “Gun Use by Male Juveniles: Research and Prevention.” Juvenile Justice Bulletin. Washington, DC: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. (1999). Promising Strategies to Reduce Gun Violence. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Sheppard, D.; Grant, H.; Rowe, W.; and Jacobs, N. (2000). “Fighting Juvenile Gun Violence.” Juvenile Justice Bulletin. Washington, DC: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Sheppard, D.; Rowe, W.; Grant, H.; Jacobs, N. (2003). National Evaluation of the Partnerships to Reduce Juvenile Gun Violence Program. Bethesda, MD: COSMOS Corporation.