Civic leaders put forward plan to reduce violent crime in New Orleans


NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – Prominent leaders from the academic, business and non-profit community are hoping to bridge the gap between criminal justice stakeholders in New Orleans by presenting a violent crime reduction plan.

The plan, drafted by Pres Kabacoff of HRI Properties, Peter Scharf of LSU Health, Michael Williamson of United Way of Southeast Louisiana, Dr. Rahn Bailey of LSU Health, among other leaders, was presented to New Orleans City Council on Tuesday.

“We write to you today as a coalition of criminal justice experts and advocates concerned about the staggering increasing violence in New Orleans,” the plan begins, citing the city’s violent start to 2022.

Asher, co-founder of AH Datalytics, said this year has been particularly bloody. The last time the first four months of the year have yielded this many homicides was April 2005.

If the trend holds, New Orleans could be looking at its’ deadliest year since the 1990s, when the population of the city was roughly 100,000 people higher.

“It’s nobody’s fault, but it’s all of our responsibility to have a role to play,” said Dr. Rahn Bailey, Chairman of Psychiatry at LSU Health’s School of Medicine. “Apathy doesn’t work well for any of us.”

The bill identifies three major areas of improvement within the city’s criminal justice system:

1. Utilizing current technology to fully integrate the flow of information between criminal justice stakeholders (e.g. NOLA Public Schools, New Orleans Health Department)

2. Growing criminal justice stakeholder capacity and engagement by tripling down on recruitment/retention, training, and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)

3. Increasing NOPD’s analytic capabilities to employ intelligence effectively and without bias

4. Foster quality public and private prevention/intervention programs

“What is it we can all do to reduce this obscene carnage in the streets we see all day?” asked Peter Scharf, LSU Health Criminologist. “The critical thing is the programs we’re proposing are all evidence based.”

As part of the plan, the group suggests bringing in Captain Ron Rasmussen of the Seattle Police Department. Rasmussen has been hailed as an expert in the implementation of law enforcement technology and proactive programs to reduce violence.

Scharf said NOPD’s force is so low, the department has been forced to take a reactive role in the community.

“What strategies should we use to maximize good police effort with 1,000 or so or 900 that we actually have?” Bailey said.

The group has the aim of being the bridge, or connective tissue, between all the stakeholders in New Orleans’ criminal justice community, without getting caught up in politics.

“I think people are tired of attacking people, and they’re tired also of defending something that’s really not working very well,” Scharf said.

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