Monday, April 17, 2006

New Orleans is seeing a steady rise in crime once again as criminals return from Houston

Jeff Crouere:

Remember the pre-Katrina days when New Orleans was the murder capital of the nation? Everyday citizens would hear incredible stories of murders, rapes and robberies. Many law abiding citizens did not feel safe venturing outside at night. In many areas of New Orleans, the streets were owned by the criminals, making many neighborhoods off-limits for legitimate business or traffic.

In the aftermath of the horrible Katrina tragedy, some speculated that the storm would allow New Orleans to start over and build a criminal justice system that works. Unfortunately, those heady predictions have proven to be false. New Orleans is seeing a steady rise in crime once again, as criminals who are not welcome in Houston are returning to their zone of safety, New Orleans. Just this weekend, two people were killed in separate overnight shootings. This continues a violent trend that is accelerating. In the last few weeks, we have seen supposedly peaceful second line parades turn into violent affairs.

What is the problem? With fewer people in New Orleans, our smaller police force should be able to keep a handle on crime. In the wake of Katrina, the NOPD suffered a national embarrassment when scores of officers deserted the force while others were accused of looting. Disciplinary action was taken and some officers were fired, but many others are now leaving on their accord each and every day. It seems that many do not view this city as an acceptable place to work and live. Who can blame them? With trash piled high, many neighborhoods still without power, flooded cars everywhere, traffic lights still not working and destruction throughout the city, it is a depressing place to work right now, especially in law enforcement. Who can blame the men and women of the police force from leaving New Orleans and finding employment in cities that are more economically promising and ones that are safer and more secure?

We also have the problem of an overwhelmed court system. New Orleans does not have adequate court facilities; and there are not enough public defenders. Due to a process that has broken down, some criminals are being released back into the community, while others just escape. The other day, prisoner Donald Tucker escaped from Orleans Parish Prison. The Criminal Sheriff Marlin Gusman had to find out from the U.S. Marshals that Tucker had escaped. Luckily, he was found by the police in Houston. The sad thing is that the Orleans Parish Prison only holds one quarter of the pre-Katrina number of prisoners, so why are any criminals escaping? According to Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff Marlin Gusman, an investigation was conducted and the findings have not been released. Regardless of the findings, the escape and the problems at the prison post-Katrina are now the subject of a hard hitting campaign being launched by Gusman’s challenger, Gerald DeSalvo. The public will decide whether New Orleans needs to change Criminal Sheriffs.

With police still leaving, criminals escaping, the court system in chaos, no wonder there is anxiety in the Big Easy about more than just the thorny issue of flood protection. A recent poll indicated that next to critical issue of levees and hurricane protection, people in New Orleans are most worried about crime. The people are worrying for good reason as crime is returning and the criminal justice system is broken. If we don’t fix this problem, murders will continue to increase and the crime problem will keep good productive abiding citizens and business owners from returning to New Orleans. Crime and our broken criminal justice system has always been a deterrent to growth in New Orleans and the post-Katrina environment is no different.

Voters should think about these problems and how the candidates for Mayor promise to address them if they are elected. These issues will hopefully play a major role in the minds of voters as they make the most important vote in the history of New Orleans this Saturday.

Houston’s Noble Experiment

Louisiana parolees roam free months after storm

Schools Punish Parents For Evacuee Students' Absences

Katrina Evacuee to be Tried for Arson


At 12:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Blacks are finally returning to exercise their Constitutional right to vote in the upcoming city election.So what if they also bring their bestial traits with them-We deserve all that happens.This wonderfully diverse,multi-culti society must not be abridged.


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