After the horrific shooting on Bourbon St., Mayor Landrieu accused the Federal government of being largely “absent” when it comes to fighting violent crime. Now, the head of the FBI’s New Orleans’ division is firing back.
“For the last 10 years, they have been for the most part absent in terms of their responsibility of taking care of public safety on the streets of America,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu stated in a press conference on Tuesday, asking them to get back into the business of fighting street crime in America.
“After September 11th, the FBI turned its attention to terrorism,” Mayor Landrieu said. “And, they turned away from street crime as a priority.”
But, the head of the FBI’s New Orleans’ division says that’s not true – at least not in this city. Special agent in charge Michael Anderson wrote a guest column for our partner, The New Orleans Advocate.
Anderson calls the mayor’s comments baseless, counterproductive, and inaccurate, “We have more individuals working violent crime and gangs than any other violation.”
Anderson says the FBI New Orleans has two task forces with boots on the ground dedicated to tackling violent crime and gangs. In fact, since 2010, those task forces have made nearly 900 arrests, and dismantled 19 neighborhood gangs and criminal enterprises, including the Telly Hankton group and the 110’ers.
Anderson does not want criminals to think his office is taking a backseat now. “I just wanted to make sure that people know that here in this community, the FBI has a very strong presence,” he says, “and we’re continuing to work well with our partners as well as the mayor’s office.”
But, Agent Anderson does agree with Mayor Landrieu on one thing. He says the number of FBI New Orleans agents has increased over the years, but he would like to see more.
“We have a lot dedicated to the issue right now, but we could always use more, “ says Anderson.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu stands by his comments. In a statement today, he said:
"FBI New Orleans is an incredible partner to the New Orleans Police Department, but much like the NOPD, it is operating under tight budget constraints. The bottom line is that more must be done at every level of government to keep our streets safe and we should all be advocating for more resources from the federal and state level to increase our impact on the ground."