NEW ORLEANS, LA—Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu released NOLA FOR LIFE: A Comprehensive Murder Reduction Strategy, containing new initiatives to improve public safety in New Orleans. During his second annual State of the City Address, Mayor Landrieu laid out the City’s comprehensive, detailed approach to reduce murders, building on the foundation laid from May 2010 to present.
“Reducing violent crime and murder and making New Orleans safe has been and will continue to be the most important issue facing this city and its future,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “We can and must find a way to stop the killing. There is no greater gift that we could leave to future generations, and no challenge is larger, nor more imminent. For over a generation, New Orleans has had a murder rate significantly higher than the national average. We can change it. Today, we laid out a comprehensive plan to reduce murder and violent crime in our city.”
Since May 2010, the Administration invited the Department of Justice in to help rebuild the NOPD, launched a comprehensive 65-point plan to completely reform the police department, enhanced the homicide unit, instituted community-oriented policing, improved the NOPD crime lab, launched CeaseFire New Orleans, and re-instituted a robust Project Safe Neighborhood alliance with local and federal prosecutors, among other initiatives.
Building on the work of the first two years, the NOLA FOR LIFE plan includes new initiatives that have an immediate and urgent focus on stopping the shootings. Recognizing that law enforcement alone cannot solve the murder problem, the NOLA FOR LIFE plan takes a holistic approach to get to the root of the problem, and divides the plan into five main categories:
Stop the Shooting;
Invest in Prevention;
Promote Jobs and Opportunity;
Improve the NOPD; and
Get Involved and Rebuild Neighborhoods.
Mayor Landrieu has tapped NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas, Criminal Justice Commissioner James Carter and Health Commissioner Dr. Karen DeSalvo to lead this effort on behalf of City Hall.
Among the new initiatives is the City’s adoption of a murder reduction effort to stop the shootings, called Group Violence Reduction, an approach developed by nationally-renowned criminologist, David M. Kennedy. This effort includes three major components:
Collaborating with respected members of the affected communities to deliver a single message: the violence must stop;
Organizing and building the capacity of social service providers, clergy and probation and parole officers so that they can provide support and services to those that no longer wish to engage in violent lifestyles; and
A focused law enforcement effort intended to deter violent behavior and ensure consequences for those who continue to commit violence.
The Group Violence Reduction Strategy has resulted in a reduction in community-wide homicides in cities such as Boston and Los Angeles.
“It is a proven strategy that is based on the fact that these groups of offenders will often listen to sources of moral authority in their own community, will take a helping hand, and will respond rationally to information about heightened consequences,” said David M. Kennedy, Director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. “What is unique about implementing this model in New Orleans is the level of commitment by Mayor Landrieu and his team to stop the shootings. I am confident that our work will be successful in New Orleans.”
Additionally, Mayor Landrieu has called on government agencies to provide assistance including additional probation and parole officers, State Police support, and a federal “strike/surge” team made up of federal law enforcement agents and prosecutors to target the most dangerous offenders.
Development of the NOLA FOR LIFE plan was fueled by the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team, which worked with Chief Serpas, Commissioner Carter and Dr. DeSalvo to develop strategies that specifically address the high murder rate in New Orleans. Together, these officials analyzed homicide data to fully understand murder trends; brought in regional and national crime experts to share solutions specific to New Orleans’ murder problem; and hosted focus groups to hear from citizens most often directly affected by murder – youth at risk of violence, community service providers, and police officers. After examining current initiatives, engaging the community to identify issues that contribute to the City’s murder epidemic, and researching and developing effective strategies, the NOLA FOR LIFE plan was created.
Mayor Landrieu commented, “We are working day and night to reduce murder. But we all must do our part. I am asking the people of New Orleans to get involved and take a stand with NOLA FOR LIFE.”
Download the NOLA FOR LIFE plan here.