NEW ORLEANS -- The murder rate in New Orleans has been cut nearly in half over the past two months, a trend NOPD says is all about proactive police work and community engagement.
NOPD Chief Michael Harrison says good police work is turning the city of New Orleans around. Recently, the department implemented a summertime crime supression plan, continued work with its gang units and arrested more than 80 people for violent offenses.
“What we’re finding is a number of people we catch for armed robberies, have committed other armed robberies. A number of people we’ve caught for shootings, have committed other shootings. People who commit murders have been involved in other violent offenses,” Harrison said.
Some residents say they can feel the difference of having those suspects arrested.
“The police are doing a good job. I never see nothing around here, it’s almost like a suburban neighborhood,” said Tasha Magee, who lives in the Desire neighborhood.
According to Crime Analyst Jeff Asher, there were 23 murders in New Orleans in January. Up until July, the number of murders each month has stayed in the double digits. However, in July, there was a significant decrease in murders with just nine reported during the entire month. August had even less, with seven total.
Despite those numbers, some residents are skeptical that anything has changed in the city.
“You can’t even come outside, you can’t play. Everyone wants to fight, they got to prove a point so we stay inside,” said Nicole Major, New Orleans resident and mother of three. “I don’t think it went down at all. We’re still getting killed. Nothing’s changed.”
However, Harrison says he sees a huge difference beyond the numbers in the relationship between community members and police officers.
“Go and build relationships that were never built, improve good relationships and repair bad relationships-- that’s what makes citizens feel good about us and want to tell us things even though they may be scared,” Harrison said. “It’s about building relationships one person at a time, one citizen at a time, one visitor at a time.”
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