Guest column: Here’s how New Orleans can get violent crime under control | Opinion


There’s a popular quote that goes, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.”

We will not be safe from stray bullets, the driving of our cars, gasoline, or just getting into our driveways if we don’t strategically attack the violent crime and criminals invading Nova Scotia. Orleans.

There are some things our leaders may want to consider.

The New Orleans Police Department can:

1) Determine the reasons for the murders, shootings and carjackings. For example, are the murders/shootings drug-related, personal or domestic? Are the carjackings for merry-go-rounds, committing crimes or harvesting auto parts? Where are the hotspots in each police district where violent crime occurs?

Because once you find out why and where, then you can develop a tactical plan to target who is committing violent crimes in our city.

2) Create an undercover unit with unmarked cars to focus on hotspots in each police district. This plainclothes unit must be legally trained on who to arrest and what constitutes reasonable suspicion to arrest and detain a person or vehicle. We may not engage in failed practices of racial and random profiling, unlawful stops, or unlawful vehicle searches.

These plainclothes officers should be wearing police badges, perhaps on a windbreaker. They should be equipped with body cameras and have effective supervision.

A few things the district attorney’s office may want to consider:

1) Assign Assistant District Attorneys to work with and train officers, to ensure that every arrest is based on probable cause that the person arrested is in fact the person who committed the crime, and that the investigation is based on facts, evidence and sufficient law to prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt.

2) Make full use of Mental Health Court, Veterans Treatment Court, Rehabilitation Court and Drug Courts for non-violent offenders, to assist that person and for accountability.

The town hall can do several things:

1) Establish a program for mental health professionals to respond to crisis calls and bring that person to an outpatient treatment setting. If the person committed a nonviolent offense, work with the district attorney’s office and the mental health court to make sure the person receives treatment and is monitored.

2) Have NORD, the Juvenile Justice and Workforce Development Intervention Center in partnership with social workers, schools, art, music non-profit and Delgado Community College to provide vocational training and employment opportunities for young people.

3) Bring together city council, district attorney, judges, public defender’s office, NOPD, sheriff, mental health and addictions experts, education officials, non-profit organizations, social workers, businesses and faith communities to establish a public safety plan, with benchmarks and performance standards for all stakeholders to combat, prevent and reduce crime. Allocate necessary municipal resources and solicit federal grants.

These things – cooperation, enforcement, accountability, treatment and social intervention – must happen simultaneously and be sustainable.

The cynic would say that nothing will be done unless a tourist, celebrity or luminary is the victim of a violent crime.

I say the right people with the right ideas, doing the right thing, will lead to solutions, not excuses.

Former Judge Arthur L. Hunter Jr. was a New Orleans police officer. He has served in the Criminal District Court as Chief Justice and Judge of Mental Health Court, Rehabilitation Court and Veterans Treatment Court.


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