New Orleans Celebrates a Week Without Shootings or Homicides for First Time in Two Years
The city of New Orleans has achieved a noteworthy milestone by experiencing its first week without any shootings or homicides in two years. According to NOLA.com, this longest stretch of its kind this year comes as a positive development, given that the last similar week occurred in the summer of 2021 during Hurricane Ida, when most of the city’s residents either evacuated or stayed indoors.
As of midday on Friday, no incidents of nonfatal shootings have been reported since September 1, and no homicides since August 31 across the city's eight police districts. Michael Hecht, the organizer of the NOLA Coalition, attributes this quiet period possibly to the effectiveness of NOPD's proactive measures, such as removing guns from the streets, and an overall decrease in violence.
The coalition consists of over 500 business and civic organizations united to combat crime since its formation in 2022.
New Strategies in Policing and Crisis Intervention
Local authorities have deployed a combination of traditional and innovative measures to address the crime rate, including pre-hospital blood transfusions, gun lock giveaways, and revitalizing the Ceasefire/Violence Interrupters program. Furthermore, Mayor LaToya Cantrell recently introduced a Mobile Crisis Intervention Unit aimed at assisting people with mental health issues, thereby allowing police officers to focus more on situations requiring their expertise.
A Welcome Pause in Violence Over Labor Day Weekend
The unusually peaceful Labor Day weekend stands out in contrast to other holidays this year, including the Fourth of July, Juneteenth, and Memorial Day, among others, which witnessed a total of nine deaths and nine injuries due to shootings. However, the past week's lack of violence contributes to an encouraging trend, with the city recording 150 murders so far this year compared to 196 at this same time in 2022.
National Trends Reflect a Decrease in Violent Crimes
This decline in crime rates is not exclusive to New Orleans. According to data analyst Jeff Asher, murders are down by 11.8% nationally, across 150 cities. NOPD data further indicates that violent crime in New Orleans has reduced by 18% compared to last year, with specific decreases in categories like murder (22%), carjacking (43%), armed robberies (30%), nonfatal shootings (16%), and aggravated rape reports (32%).
As of now, it remains too early to conclusively link these various initiatives to the drop in crime rates, according to Hecht, but the pause in violence certainly brings much-needed relief and hope to the community, especially as fall events and concerts ramp up—including the New Orleans Saints regular season, as many will be visiting the Big Easy for games over the next few months.
As of September 9, the number of murders in the city is 24% lower than it was at this time last year. See the full report, including in-depth statistical data, over at NOLA.com