New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu is asking for more help in fighting crime. He used much of his hour-long State of the City address to call on federal and state governments—and the community—to battle what he calls “the first order of business.”
Mayor Landrieu outlined what his administration has accomplished in the first half of his four-year term. He says more blighted property is being cleared, and infrastructure damaged by Hurricane Katrina is being repaired. He says more new schools and libraries are opening, and recreation programs are expanding. But crime remains stubbornly high.
”Our plan would create a more permanent ‘strike/surge’ team of federal law enforcement prosecutors who would come to New Orleans on detail from their agencies—along with the FBI, ATF and DEA—and build, indict and prosecute violent gangs and drug lords in identified ‘hot spots.’ With this kind of surge support we can focus like a laser on violent offenders to get them to stop the shooting. We have to stop the shooting first.”
Landrieu also wants more state funds for mental health, probation and parole services.
“We’re fighting to restore cuts in Baton Rouge as we speak. This is another way Governor Jindal can make our city safer. Because if the state does not honor their obligation, we will have to do less with less, and our streets will be more dangerous.”
Landrieu says New Orleans’ violent-crime rate has been trouble for generations.
“Going back at least 33 years, to 1979, on average New Orleans has had seven to eight times the national murder rate.”
Landrieu says a reformed New Orleans Police Department is key to the battle, and the federal consent decree restructuring that reform is 98% complete.