Wednesday, September 21, 2022 by Ramon Tomey
The city of New Orleans in Louisiana – known for Cajun cuisine, the Mardi Gras and jazz music – is now also known as America’s murder capital.
An analysis by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) revealed that the Crescent City recorded the highest homicide rate of any major city so far in 2022, with 41 homicides per 100,000 residents. In contrast, Chicago only had 11.5, Los Angeles had 4.8 and New York City had 2.4 homicides per 100,000 people over the same period.
Another analysis, this time by the nonprofit Metropolitan Crime Commission (MCC), bolstered the WSJ‘s findings. MCC works on crime-reducing strategies in New Orleans.
The nonprofit found that the homicide rate in the Big Easy went up by 141 percent compared with the same period in 2019. It also noticed an increase in other crimes. Carjackings increased by 210 percent, shootings rose by 100 percent and armed robberies went up by 25 percent.
“The homicide rate is on pace to surpass last year’s rate, which was the worst since Hurricane Katrina in 2005,” noted the publication.
City officials and residents point to the overwhelmed New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) as a major factor in the gargantuan increase in crime. According to Loyola University New Orleans criminal justice professor Ronal Serpas, the Crescent City has about 50 to 60 percent of the officers it needs to offer adequate protection for residents.
However, New Orleans District Attorney (DA) Jason Williams – a self-proclaimed “progressive prosecutor” – is also to blame for the rising homicide rate. When he became the DA for the New Orleans metro area in early 2021, Williams promised a “more selective” approach when it comes to prosecuting criminals on the streets.
“Being more selective about prosecutions will allow us to focus on the crimes that matter most to all of us,” the DA said at the time. “We’ve got to go beyond punishment and invest in our community.”
This approach, MCC pointed, has resulted in a “drastic decline in accountability for violent felony offenders.”
Serpas, who served as NOPD superintendent from 2010 to 2014 before becoming a professor, warned: “We’re in a crisis of crime and a crisis of confidence in this city.” (Related: USA has 3rd highest murder rate in the world, unless you subtract the five biggest Democrat-run metropolitan cities, and then we’re 189th out of 193.)
Several New Orleans residents who spoke to the WSJ revealed plans to leave the crime-riddled city.
Grocery cashier Nhu Vu, 40, shared that she is planning to move away from the city with her children. She recounted a daytime shooting incident in May 2022 that happened across her workplace, which left two dead and four wounded. A more recent incident she shared involved an angry homeless man throwing a beer can at her.
Vu called law enforcement right after the incident, but an officer only showed up the next day. “The only way you can really get police to come is if you say you are shot and bleeding,” she commented.
Auto shop owner Ibrahim Rabee, meanwhile, said he no longer feels safe at his own business. He recounted one instance when a man threatened one of his employees who would not put air in the customer’s tire. Rabee called 911 after someone walked in with a gun and threatened to shoot up the business, but a police officer only showed up the following day.
“I’m thinking I’m not going to work another year here,” the auto shop owner remarked, adding that he is considering moving near his brother in New York state.
Conway Herzog, who works for an automotive oil supplier, visited Rabee’s business to check on orders. He moved to Mississippi after living in New Orleans for more than 50 years, mainly to escape the Crescent City’s rampant crime.
According to Herzog, he carries a gun whenever visiting the block where Rabee’s auto shop is located. He recounted seeing two shootings in the area in broad daylight. Records from the NOPD attested to this: At least seven people have been killed within blocks of the auto shop since the beginning of 2022.
“Man, am I glad to get out of here,” remarked Herzog. “I don’t see it getting any better.”
Violence.news has more stories about rising crime rates in U.S. cities.
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