NEW ORLEANS — Shevelle Fontenette says the growing number of young people gunned down on the streets of New Orleans touches her heart.
“It really saddens me to know that so much crime and it’s the younger kids that are doing it,” Fontenette said.
Her 19-year-old son Haushon Miller is one of three people shot and killed outside a Gentilly music studio in September 2020.
The alleged killer was just 15-years-old.
“These kids are lost because these kids are raising themselves,” Fontenette said.
There have been 148 murders in the city so far this year.
That’s a 44-percent jump over the same time last year.
“If we keep the same pace that we had for the first 6 months for the second six months of the year, we have a murder rate that would rank, I think as the fourth worst compared to 93, 94 and 2007, the only years we reported a worse murder rate,” City Council Public Safety Consultant Jeff Asher said.
Asher’s unofficial tally showed the city had 31 homicides in June.
That's the most in a month since July 2004.
“It’s only the second time since Katrina they’ve been above 30 murders in a month. We had 122 for the entirety of 2019," he said.
Asher points out the city has already exceeded the total number of murders in both 2018 and 2019 with 6 months left to go in the year.
“It really is a call to do better, at least identifying the necessity to do better,” Asher said.
Fontenette says parents and the community need to play larger a role in stopping the killings.
“We need to turn these kids in,” Fontenette said. “Some of us believe that I don’t see anything. I won’t say anything. My kid didn’t do anything. But you know your kid is wrong for doing this.”
She’s not surprised by the city’s high murder rate so far this year.
“I think it’s going to get worse,” Fontenette said. “I think it’s going to get worse if leaders are not leading.”
Earlier this week, Police Supt. Shaun Ferguson said the NOPD will continue to press forward and do what needs to be done to ensure safety in the city.
Friday, the NOPD released a statement that gives context to the city’s murder rate:
Of the 148 murders that have occurred in New Orleans this year, 53 are incidents in which the perpetrator had, or is believed to have had, a prior relationship with the victim.
Of that 53, nine were domestic.
It is nearly impossible to police personal relationships and the inability of individuals to settle their differences without resorting to violence.
It is beyond the capacity and responsibility of law enforcement to address many of the underlying causes of the problems facing society today; namely inequality of educational opportunities, inequality of employment, and economic opportunities.