NEW ORLEANS — As city leaders gathered Monday to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, they all agreed on this; there is a problem with crime in the city of New Orleans and it’s going to take a unified approach to solve.
Newly-elected Councilman Oliver Thomas stressed that those in power need to come together to do what right for the people vs. their own political gain saying, “My father told me a long time ago once you become a leader your personal feelings don’t mean a damn thing.”
Thomas who also serves as city’s chair of the criminal justice committee was not mincing words addressing the rise in crime in the City of New Orleans
“This isn’t the time for feelings to be hurt or political one upmanship or for folk to worry about what they going to be next,” he said. “We can break it down in syllables if you don’t understand it: co-op-er-ation”
City Council President Helena Moreno tweeted about a special council meeting over the weekend addressing a soon coming meeting to discuss violence in the city.
She says it’s important to pull together city leaders to re-work our local justice system.
“The answer is not the lock everyone up for every minor little thing. That is not effective that is not going to work, but at the same time, those who are committing very violent and egregious crimes in our community need to be held accountable,” she said.
Figuring out how to address this issue on the back end will be imperative, but according to Thomas, he questions why something can’t be done on the front end to prevent the crime in the first place.
“This isn’t rocket science,” he said. “You don’t need [a] 10-points plan to fight crime. If the red, green, and yellow and purple dots say crime is over here, where do you send your crime fighters.”
To which New Orleans Police Chief Shaun Ferguson responded, “that’s what we do. That is how we operate.”
Ferguson says he agrees a cooperative approach is needed to solve the city’s current crime wave. But, he says there are systemic issues at play that also need to be addressed when talking about crime in the City of New Orleans.
“We need to look at the underlying issues that triggers some of these issues like injustices in educational opportunity and injustices in economic opportunity," he said. "Some of these things that breed this criminal element. That’s what we have to look at before we as a police department are dealing with the back end of all of this that is a result of what was not addressed on the front end.”