NEW ORLEANS -- Satisfaction with the New Orleans Police Department fell by double digits, according to the bi-annual survey conducted by the New Orleans Crime Commission, with less than half of the citizens surveyed approving of the job being done by the NOPD.
From 2013 to 2014, overall citizen satisfaction by New Orleanians dropped from 60 percent to 48 percent, with the drop similar along racial lines. Black New Orleanian satisfaction dropped from 61 percent to 48 percent and white satisfaction among New Orleanians dropped from to 64 percent to 45 percent.
"The drop in citizen satisfaction with NOPD in the current survey is cause for concern, but not panic," said Michael Cowan, chairman of the New Orleans Crime Commission.
According to Cowan, the drop in satisfaction with the NOPD may be due to the depleted ranks of the police force and the subsequent rise in violent crime across the city. "In our judgment, these results reflect recent rising rates of violent crime coupled with the widespread awareness that the number of New Orleans police officers available to patrol our streets has dropped to a dangerously low level."
Among the rise in violent crime, New Orleans averaged more than one non-fatal shooting per day -- 398 -- in 2014, compared to 322 in 2013 -- a 24 percent increase. A WWL-TV report in January discovered the NOPD had 1,148 commissioned officers, well off its target of 1,600.
While less than half of those surveyed said they were satisfied with the NOPD, 77 percent said they felt safe in their neighborhoods -- compared to 81 percent in March of 2014 -- though only 44 percent said they felt safe in outside of their neighborhoods in the latest survey.
Six hundred adults were surveyed, according to the commission, from Feb. 2-5, and the survey has a margin of error of 4 percent.