NEW ORLEANS — Homicides, carjackings and non-fatal shootings are all up in New Orleans.
Not just for this year, but for the last two years according to Metropolitan Crime Commission President Rafael Goyeneche.
“From 2019 to 2021, carjackings are up over 160 percent,” Goyeneche said. “Murders are up the same period of time, over 80 percent. Shootings are up over 100 percent.”
The surge in violence was a topic of discussion at the MCC’s annual luncheon on Thursday.
“According to FBI UCR data, violent crime is up significantly in Louisiana,” said New Orleans FBI Special Agent in Charge Doug Williams.
Williams admits the state and city have seen a larger increase in violence than the national average.
His data shows over the last year (2019-2020), the national murder rate increased by 29 percent. While the homicide rate for Louisiana increased by 35 percent and in New Orleans by 67 percent.
“I can tell you though that the numbers for this year have only increased from 2020,” Williams added.
Williams revealed the FBI’s focus in New Orleans is now to go after the most violent offenders, gangs, and criminal enterprises.
U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana Duane Evans promised to prosecute more violent offenders in federal court.
“Law enforcement is most effective when we can focus our limited resources on identifying, investigating, and also prosecuting the worst of the worst,” Evans said.
NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson appreciates the federal partnership.
“We know that will be a level of accountability that this more brazen criminal is not used to,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson knows the residents of New Orleans have been frustrated by the spike in violent crime.
“So have I,” Ferguson said. “So have our officers.”
The department is now at a 50-year low in staffing. The number of officers has dipped below 1,100 — That’s about 220 fewer than just two years ago.
“If we’re looking at a crime surge that we’ve haven’t see in over a decade down here and we have fewer police officers today than we had to deal with the crime surge years ago, then, of course, we’re going to see the proliferation of the violence that we’re seeing right now,” the MCC’s Goyeneche said.
The NOPD continues to shrink.
The department lost 140 officers so far this year while only hiring 41 new officers.