Our View: Finally, a crime plan is taking shape | Our views
If anyone still believed that violent and random crime hadn’t reached crisis stage in New Orleans, last Tuesday’s horrific carjacking in a Costco gas pump in broad daylight – in which a 45-year-old real estate agent on a routine errand was dragged and seriously injured – should have dispelled that idea.
Even before the most recent incident, a pronounced increase in carjackings, a rash of interstate shootings and other instances of chilling violence had left many New Orleans residents upset and eager to find a solution to the from law enforcement partners who seem determined to point fingers at each other. . So it’s good to finally see New Orleans Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson and District Attorney Jason Williams find common ground and work on a plan together.
Ferguson and Williams appeared together on Thursday to announce a deal to bring back a multi-agency approach that in the past has led to major gang-related injuries and killings – minus the controversial tactics that have plagued the unfavorable unit. Rather than starting from scratch, the violent crime and investigative team that Ferguson created in 2021 will incorporate aspects of the disbanded multi-agency gang unit.
At a press conference at Edna Karr High School, the pair sat side by side, agreeing they needed to find ways to cooperate after a very public spat over whether the police failed to make a case. strong arguments or if prosecutors did not aggressively pursue the cases they had been handed over. Rekindled unity is an important part of this mutual effort.
“We arrive,” Williams said at the school where 11th grader Keyron Ross had been a student until he lost his life in a shooting in January. “The full force of every law enforcement agency (in this field) comes to bear in this push.”
The pair also agreed to use the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting standard for “solve” rates as a benchmark rather than “solve” rates, in an effort to present a unified assessment of the problem and progress. done to solve it.
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Ferguson and Williams also said a more focused effort must include additional city council funding. The council recently concluded a series of hearings, and the need for money was a frequent refrain. On Thursday, board members Helena Moreno, JP Morrell, Joe Giarrusso and Lesli Harris posted theirs preliminary plan to strengthen all components of the criminal justice system. It includes promises of more funding and better technology, but most importantly not a promise to reconsider its ban on facial recognition and tracking software, something Mayor LaToya Cantrell and support from Ferguson.
The proposal also calls for a new approach to the chronic challenge of police recruitment and retention; the size of the force dropped sharply under former mayor Mitch Landrieu and did not recover under Cantrell’s watch.
The continued rise in crime is not a problem unique to New Orleans. Cities across the country and state are grappling with similar issues. In East Baton Rouge, a multi-agency approach is also tackling the problem.
District Attorney Hillar Moore III recently challenged the community to join law enforcement in a united front and invoked the area’s strong support for its sports teams.
“We invest personal, business and state dollars in sports programs and athletes to ensure they are well-equipped and elite, given everything they need to reach their potential,” Moore said. “We want a winning team. We have the best, but the best cost money.”
He’s right, and his comparison highlights the need for a comprehensive approach to make residents feel safe again. You know, the kind of thing that can only happen once everyone starts rowing in the same direction.