City of New Orleans | Homicide Reduction Initiatives Status Report
January 18, 2012
“To end the cycle of violence and death on the streets of New Orleans, we have all hands on deck. But government alone can’t solve the problem. It’s about personal responsibility. Each of us has a choice – to put down the gun, to parent our children, to bear witness to what we saw, to give back to our community.”
— Mayor Mitch Landrieu
In 2011 on the streets of New Orleans, 199 individuals lost their lives as victims of murder. According to a report conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice, murders in New Orleans are highly concentrated in three geographic areas: Central City, St. Roch and New Orleans East.
The Department of Justice report shows that most of the perpetrators and victims are unemployed African‐American males between the ages of 16‐25 with little education and criminal records. In 78% of the cases, the perpetrators and victims know each other.
The City will take a public health approach to reducing murder, focusing on the six pillars of prevention, intervention, interdiction, arrest, prosecution, and rehabilitation.
Mayor Landrieu tapped Police Chief Ronal Serpas, Criminal Justice Commissioner James Carter and Health Commissioner Karen DeSalvo to lead this effort on behalf of City Hall.
To reduce murders, the City is employing a series of initiatives proven effective around the country, including the Strategic Command to Reduce Murders, SOS NOLA: Saving our Sons, CeaseFire New Orleans, improved Access to Behavioral Health Services, enhanced Domestic Violence Screening, an enhanced homicide detectives unit, hot‐spot policing, community‐oriented policing, an improved NOPD crime lab, a robust Project Safe Neighborhood alliance with local and federal prosecutors and a gun buyback program.
Throughout the year, the Mayor’s Strategic Command to Reduce Murders will call together leaders in the community and the criminal justice system to look at the facts, identify trends and make new policy
and tactical recommendations. In other words, this team will review data to identify the root causes of murder and make recommendations to address the issue at its source.
For example, a hard look at the facts shows that in 2011 many of those arrested for murder (40%) and many victims of murder (33%) had at least one prior arrest for illegal possession of a firearm. The data
also reveals that in 2011, many perpetrators (21%) were on probation or parole at the time of a murder and many victims (14%) were on probation or parole at the time of their death. In addition, nuisance
bars and taverns (Alcohol and Beverage Outlets) serve as focal points for criminal activity, including disagreements which escalate into homicides. In light of these compelling facts related to illegal
possession of firearms, offenders on probation and parole, and nuisance alcohol and beverage outlets, the Mayor will work in partnership with the New Orleans City Council and leaders in the Criminal Justice system to develop new policy initiatives to reduce murder and violent crime.
While direct efforts to reduce murder are being implemented, the City of New Orleans is deploying all available assets to make neighborhoods safer. In 2012, departments across city government will build on
successful efforts in 2011 to increase public safety by eradicating blight, lighting up and rebuilding neighborhoods, increasing opportunities for youth and creating jobs.
Through Quality Of Life Stat, the City is taking a coordinated approach to tracking enforcement of the law on Alcohol and Beverage Outlets (ABOs), abandoned vehicles and other quality of life issues where effective support from other City departments is critical to the effectiveness of the NOPD’s community policing efforts.
It is important to note that in addition to these initiatives, the Landrieu Administration invited the Department of Justice to partner in a complete transformation of the New Orleans Police Department.
Federal consent decree negotiations are well underway.
The Mayor is committed to a collaborative approach to reducing murder. Government, business, nonprofits, neighborhood and faith‐based communities all have a vital role to play. However, squarely at
the core of the City’s approach to reducing murder is an unrelenting belief in personal responsibility.
This document covers the status of the City’s homicide reduction initiatives, ranging from current commitments to planned programs and neighborhood‐based efforts that are being supported by City departments.