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Baton Rouge Partnership for the Prevention of Juvenile Gun Violence

Ages 17-21

Rating: Level 2


The Baton Rouge (La.) Partnership for the Prevention of Juvenile Gun Violence targets the most chronic violent youths up to age 21 from two southern Louisiana high-crime zip code areas. The program refers to juveniles and young adults on probation for gun-related offenses as “Eigers,” after a peak in the Bernese Alps considered among the world’s most difficult to climb. The partnership, which is chaired by the Baton Rouge chief of police, benefits from an unusually supportive community. Dozens of local agencies and countless citizens are involved in the program in some way.

The partnership uses a comprehensive strategy with four specific goals:

1. Carry out a multi-agency law enforcement (suppression) strategy to reduce gun-related and other violent crimes committed by youths 17 and older.
2. Operate an intensive intervention program to reduce the risk factors for the highest risk youths, their families, and the community.
3. Mobilize the community at the grassroots level to address the problems of hard-to-reach families and the highest risk youths.
4. Operate a long-range prevention program that identifies, links, and strengthens existing resources to serve youths who may be at risk.

Three community task forces—Enforcement, Intervention, and Prevention—are responsible for operational decisions in carrying out this strategy.

Three-member police-probation teams intensely supervise and strictly enforce the conditions of probation for Eigers. 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 is developed for each Eiger that includes services for family members. The teams make regular home visits with the Eigers, their parents, and their siblings to monitor probation compliance, record information for intervention services, and establish an ongoing dialog with the families. A life skills academy offers a host of education, training, and rehabilitation options for Eigers. Eiger teams monitor identified youths (non-Eigers) who are at risk of becoming serious habitual offenders. The strategy facilitates an immediate response to delinquent behavior when it occurs.


The evaluation used autoregressive integrated moving average model analyses to compare firearm offenses in the area targeted by the partnership with firearm offenses in the rest of the city over a 6-year period, 1995–2000. Program strategies were implemented in late 1997. The evaluation studied firearm robberies, homicides, and aggravated assaults.

The probation component of the partnership was evaluated using a quasi-experimental matched comparison group design to compare recidivism rates. Over 3½ years, 385 juveniles and young adults went through the Eigers probation program. These probationers were compared with 58 youths placed on probation in an area of the city surrounding the program area during the same period as the treatment group. The youths in the comparison group would have been eligible for the Eigers program had they lived in the target area. The two groups were tracked from October 1997 through September 2000. Recidivism was operationalized as a re-arrest for any criminal offense, any re-arrest for a violent offense, and any re-arrest for a gun-related offense. Recidivism was measured in two ways: comparing the average number of offenses committed by each group and comparing the percent of each group who committed one or more offenses.

The probation component was also evaluated through a 53-question life skills survey assessing youth attitudes about school violence, gun carrying and use, and other risk behaviors such as association with delinquent peers, interpersonal conflicts, fighting, and school suspensions. In 1999 a nonrandom sample of 92 Eiger youths answered the survey. Also in 1999, 825 East Baton Rouge Parish pubic school students in fifth, seventh, and ninth grades answered the survey. Owing to differences between the two groups, the researchers used only the 323 ninth graders as a comparison group. In 2001 the same survey was administered to 90 Eigers; it is unclear how many in this sample were part of the 1999 sample. The comparison group still consisted of the 1999 sample of ninth graders.


The evaluation of firearm offenses in Baton Rouge showed a decrease in firearm robberies in the target area during the 3 years following the start of the program. The average number dropped from 110 to 92—a 16.4 percent decrease—while in the surrounding areas there was only a 5.7 percent decrease, from 105 to 99. This is a significant difference. The time series analysis 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 the surrounding areas, which went from 71 percent to 72 percent during the evaluation period. Analysis of firearm-aggravated assaults shows a significant drop of 30 percent in the target area, while the surrounding area showed an increase of 22 percent during the beginning of the evaluation, before finally falling in 1999.

A comparison of recidivism rates between the Eigers group and the comparison group also showed positive results. Forty-three percent of the treatment group was re-arrested for a criminal offense during the monitoring period, compared with 72 percent of the comparison group. Sixteen percent of the treatment group was re-arrested for a violent crime, compared with 41 percent of the comparison group. And 16 percent were re-arrested 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. The researchers reanalyzed that data, using a subsample of the Eigers youths who were matched to the comparison group on age, gender, number of priors, and nature of criminal history. The Eigers group still had significantly fewer violent re-arrests; they also had fewer criminal re-arrests and re-arrests for gun-related offenses, even though the differences were no longer statistically significant.

The results of the 1999 life skills surveys showed that the Eiger youths in 1999 were more likely than the comparison group to

  • Have been involved in fights
  • Have been suspended or expelled from school
  • Expect to be shot before age 25
  • Have friends who have been in trouble with police or have been in detention
  • Be less concerned about getting into trouble at school
  • Feel safer having a gun, when a fight is about to happen
  • Not seek avoiding a physical fight by walking away
  • Threaten to use a use a weapon as a way to avoid a physical fight
  • Feel they are safer in a fight if they have a weapon
  • Say they have personally seen other youths seriously wounded or killed by a gun, knife, or other weapon
  • Say they have personally seen other youths carrying guns in their neighborhood
  • Say they have been personally threatened, shot at, or injured with a weapon

The results of the 2001 life skills survey showed that the Eiger youths in 2001 were less likely than the Eiger youths in 1999 to

  • Have been suspended or expelled from school in the past year
  • Have been involved in a fight during the past 12 months
  • Have been out later than 10 p.m. more than 2 nights a week
  • Think carrying a weapon is an effective way to avoid a fight
  • Think having a gun makes it safer for them in a fight
  • Fear that their neighborhood is violent
  • Have personally seen kids recently carrying guns in their neighborhood

And more likely to

  • Be willing to walk away from a fight or avoid the person to avoid a fight
  • Be willing to apologize as an effective way to avoid a fight

The 2001 Eigers youths were similar to the 1999 comparison group in their willingness to use nonaggressive ways to avoid a fight and to not consider threatening to use a gun as an effective way to avoid a fight. Eigers youths in 2001 were more willing than the comparison group to walk away from a fight and to apologize in order to avoid a fight, and they were less likely to agree that they had to carry a gun to earn their friends’ respect. More of the 2001 Eigers youths reported that it was hard to access a gun than either of the 1999 groups.

The more time spent in the Eigers program the closer a youth’s attitudes came to resembling the comparison group. However, because the 2001 Eiger survey results were compared with a 1999 comparison group, caution should be used when looking at the results.


Lizotte, Alan J., and David Sheppard. 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: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Sheppard, David, Heath Grant, Wendy Rowe, and Nancy Jacobs. 2000. “Fighting Juvenile Gun Violence.” Juvenile Justice Bulletin. Washington, DC: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Sheppard, David, Wendy Rowe, Heath Grant, and Nancy Jacobs. 2003. National Evaluation of the Partnerships to Reduce Juvenile Gun Violence Program. Bethesda, Md.: COSMOS Corporation.


Alex Jones
Department of Juvenile Services, East Baton Rouge Parish
8333 Veterans Memorial Blvd.
Baton Rouge, LA 70807
Phone: (225) 354-1220
Fax: (225) 354-1317