By: Daniel Johnson
New Orleans, LA — The City of New Orleans experienced its first week without a killing or a shooting since Hurricane Ida in 2021. This represents the longest gun violence-free stretch this year in the Big Easy.
Michael Hecht, the central organizer of the NOLA Coalition, a group of 500 New Orleans business and civic organizations that formed to combat the crime wave in 2022, told Nola.com, “We hope this is the result of NOPD tactics like the proactive removal of guns from the street, combined with an organic ebb in violence, and that it will continue as a long-term trend.”
So far, Labor Day Weekend is the first holiday celebrated in New Orleans that did not involve someone being shot and/or killed.
Over Fourth of July, Juneteenth, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Memorial Day, Fat Tuesday, and Easter Sunday, nine people were killed and nine others were shot. Shootings and violent crime in general in New Orleans are on a downward trajectory, consistent with a drop in violent crime nationwide. Policymakers in New Orleans have taken a creative approach, applying a blend of tried-and-true methods along with some outside-the-box thinking.
Their initiatives include: pre-hospital blood transfusions, expansion of the Ceasefire/Violence Interrupters Program, gun lock giveaways, and the launch of a civilian department designed to assist the work of an understaffed New Orleans Police Department.
Mayor LeToya Cantrell recently sang the praises of a newly created Mobile Crisis Intervention Unit, which is designed to assist 911 callers who are not in need of a first response team.
Cantrell says the program is responsible for “lifting the burden of the New Orleans Police Department so our officers are not having to respond to calls really where they are not needed.”
However, given that the decline in violence is a recent trend, it is too early to decide if the recent efforts are causations or merely correlations, but as Hecht might attest, any kind of decline in violent crime or gun violence is cause for a brief sigh of relief.