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How New Orleans cut its murder rate in half in the 90s

What can we learn from the Pennington Plan?

NEW ORLEANS — This isn’t the first time New Orleans has earned the title of “Murder Capital of America.”

In the mid-90’s, New Orleans was widely known as America’s deadliest city. So, we wanted to look back at a time when New Orleans saw a dramatic reduction in crime to see what we can learn.

By the time Marc Morial got elected in 1994, there were 424 murders in the city of New Orleans and the police department was rife with corruption.

Morial hired Richard Pennington as New Orleans Police Chief to turn that around. Pennington came from the Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department and started making changes immediately.

He took a more scientific approach to policing, using crime statistics to deploy more officers into violent hot spots. Salaries were increased and and hundreds of new officers were hired, bringing the force to an all-time high of around 1,600 officers.

By the time he left in 1999, the murder rate had been cut in half.

So, what can we learn from the "Pennington Plan?"

RELATED: Wounded City: How other police departments successfully curbed violent crime

RELATED: Watch: Wounded City - a Look at Crime in New Orleans

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