New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu is dismissing calls to bring Louisiana National Guard troops to patrol city streets. The mayor says the move wouldn't stop violence.
Mayor Landrieu says he understands people's frustrations with crime, especially after a toddler was shot and killed and a nine-year-old boy wounded in separate weekend shootings. State Representative Austin Badon of New Orleans has written the governor, asking that Louisiana National Guard units be sent to back up police and show a presence on the streets. Landrieu tells WWNO that the move is unnecessary.
"We have had incidences where, in fact, the National Guard has physically been on the ground standing on corners and the murder rate's actually gone up. So we have to make sure that when people say things like that they actually have the facts about what they're talking about."
Landrieu says the city must be strategic about crime-fighting. "We have to make sure we deploy our manpower in a way that actually solves the problem."
National Guard troops were called in after Hurricane Katrina. Landrieu says the guard continues to play a role in the city's battle to cut a murder rate that the Justice Department says is 10 times the national average.
"The fact is they're here. They work with us every day. It's a robust presence, and they're working very well with all of the other major law enforcement agencies that we work with on a daily basis."
Landrieu says agencies are concentrating on fighting crime at its roots, and his approach involves not only police but health and community organizations to break a culture of violence.