NEW ORLEANS — The National initiative to combat crime, "National Night Out Against Crime" is aimed at raising crime prevention awareness and reducing crime.
New Orleans is labeled the murder capital of the nation, so if there’s a city that needs an increase in crime prevention awareness, it’s here.
During speeches, New Orleans Police Chief Shaun Ferguson said, “It starts with us as a community, every night, every day should be a day or night out against crime we cannot take this anymore.”
The 9th Ward and New Orleans East have seen their share of crime, Chief Ferguson saying the 9th Ward holds a special place in his heart, “I grew up in this very neighborhood. I played on that basketball court.”
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Mayor Cantrell, Councilmembers, law enforcement and members from the judicial system all in attendance.
Dr. Avis Williams, Superintended for Nola Public Schools said, “People want to villainize our young people, guys our young people are watching us. One thing I say often is, if you want better young people, be a better human.”
Nola Love is a new, citywide initiative getting young people to suggest ways to better their communities and reduce crime. All while providing academic, mental health, family and wellness services.
Kendall McManus, Principal of Andrew Wilson Charter School is a part of the new program says this program is aimed at giving the students the power for change, saying, “We are empowering them to implement the change they want in their community.”
Eight public schools will be a part, McManus says, “Its important that we act on what our youth is saying, and what they want to see because they are the future. So the solutions rise with the future and we have to implement advocate and uplift their voices.”
Former New Orleans Police Chief Eddie Compass who was on the force during the crime wave in the 90s says when he took office he took a community approach to policing.
“If you don’t use a holistic approach to attacking crime you will never solve crime, your putting band aids on things that need major surgery,” Chief Compass said.
He said policing encompasses mental and sociological elements, and to make a change in youth crime, more needs to be done at a grassroots level, he said, "We actually had a job fair inside a housing development for all kids at risk, kids had been arrested, kids involved in crime or drugs.”
He says today’s youth are no different, saying, “I tell my son I love him, every time I see him and he’s never gotten tired of it, and he’s 38.”
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