BATON ROUGE, LA (FOX44) — Rania Akasha and her family have owned a store in the heart of Tigerland for nearly two decades, and she says they have seen their share of problems. But these days she says the crime and violence have started to hit closer to home, claiming at least one of her loyal customers.
"He was killed, dead at a very young age, and it's very sad," Akasha explained of the young man, a regular to her store, that was recently killed in the area.
Akasha claims the crime isn't just killing the community though, it's killing business.
"They say, 'Oh no I am not going to go there at night, let me go before or during the day. Or let me go to another area like off Nicholson,'" she said.
Baton Rouge Police say crime hasn't spiked in the last couple of years in any easily noted way, burglaries, robberies and various drug related crimes have always been an issue. But for those living and working in the area it doesn't really seem that way.
"You know the area is changing a lot here in Tigerland. We've been managing this business for 17 years and we've never seen crimes go up. We're losing a lot of customers," Akasha said.
So police are stepping in, and stepping up their efforts in the area.
"The people that live in the Tigerland area have their concerns and it's up to us to help put their concerns to rest," said Baton Rouge Police spokesman Cpl. Tommy Stubbs.
In the coming weeks police will be running undercover operations targeting drugs, prostitution and illegal guns in the area. They will also be launching a new form of enforcement. Police are collaborating with over 40 apartment complex owners who have agreed to give police direct access to their security cameras so they can monitor the area in real time.
"I mean we can respond to crime immediately because we'll see it happen. We'll have video tapped evidence of crimes happening," Stubbs explained.
Police will also continue ongoing efforts in the area to regulate activity at local bars.