NEW ORLEANS -- Despite a spate of murders on the last day of the year, New Orleans police expected to end 2012 with slightly fewer killings than 2011.
'At some point you have to say, look, something isn't right here,' said Father Bill Terry.
The pastor at St. Anna's Episcopal keeps a running tally of murder victims on a board in front of his church in Treme.
'This week we read four names during mass of murder victims,' Terry said. 'The week before it was six names during mass and the week before that it was eight names.'
As of late New Year's Eve afternoon, the city's murder count stood at 193 for the year.
That's compared to 199 killings in 2011.
'It is early to know what the final numbers will be,' said NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas. 'But, we are predicting that there will be a decrease in murders in 2012.'
Serpas said the city's new homicide review committee is in the process of finalizing its first report. He said that report will show some pretty disturbing trends.
'We continue to see nearly nine out of ten young men who are murdered or being murdered are not employed, eight to nine out of ten of them have been in and out of the criminal justice system, half of them have already been arrested for carrying guns.'
Back at St. Anna's, Father Terry said the NOPD needs to consider new ways to disrupt the cycle of violence among young people.
'Those alternatives might look like more cops on the beat, more localized police districts or substations. They might look like police officers being detailed to work with the YMCA or kids soccer programs.'
In the New Year, the NOPD hopes to hire 20 new experienced officers from other department and conduct two police academies.
Serpas said the NOPD expects to end the year with a decrease in rapes, armed robberies, burglaries, auto burglaries and auto theft.