Quin Hillyer: Keep the faith – NOLA started fighting crime | Quin Hillyer

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Don’t Give Up: If New Orleans survived Hurricane Katrina, let alone all the other disasters it’s endured over three centuries, then surely it can survive a crime wave.

How?

Declare war on the gangs and main leaders of the narco-criminal cooperatives of New Orleans.

Get help from the national police.

Institute a wide-reaching net on Interstate 10.

Make sure repeat violent offenders stay behind bars for a long time.

Help the New Orleans Police Department get out of the federal consent decree governing their conduct. Count and unlock much of the $387.5 million the city received from the American Rescue Plan Act faster. Aggressively implement as much as possible the comprehensive recommendations of the NOLA Coalition and the Public Safety Committee of Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s Operation Forward Together Transition from 2018. Engage community organizations and make a huge effort to enlist the city’s youth in constructive sports, clubs and other extracurricular activities.

And keep working together, to get on board and keep everyone on board.

“There is a special kind of brotherhood among the people of New Orleans,” said public policy strategist Jacques Morial. “We all understand this brotherhood, across different social and economic lines. It’s unique. But the fear of crime tears these bonds. We look at each other with suspicion and fear, and it all corrodes that brotherhood that is so essential to our city and our survival.

When I last spoke to Morial, in 2021, he described himself as both “woke” and “progressive.” Still, he’s as forceful in tackling violent crime as any ‘lock-em-up’ conservative, and there’s a lot of common ground on the solutions, including (potentially) most (but not all) of them. from those listed above.

That’s why the NOLA Coalition, which includes up to 400 different community organizations and businesses, is such a welcome addition to the scene. Not only does its recommendations (too voluminous to list here) make a lot of sense, but the breadth of its reach should encourage everyone. Ethnicity, income, neighborhood, creed, political affiliations: none of the usual divisions along these lines seem to matter. If elected officials stop talking and start implementing most of the coalition’s plans, the crime problem can absolutely be improved.

In just 60 days, the coalition has already successfully lobbied the City Council (and supporting the work of the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation) to provide significant funding for New Orleans Police Department recruitment and retention. ; convinced the council to repeal its disastrous ordinance that barred police from using various crime-fighting technologies; and has raised over $3.5 million for youth-serving organizations, among other advancements.

In the meantime, return to the list that started this column. The two most important immediate elements, as police recruiting efforts ramp up, are the war on “gang” leaders and temporary, rapid assistance from the Louisiana State Police. In the medium term and in the longer term, the essential – underlined both by Jacques Morial and his brother Marc, the former mayor, who responded independently of Jacques – is what Marc called “a comprehensive program for the development of young people on a very large scale”.

The coalition is working on it, because its $3.5 million for youth services is just a down payment toward its three-year goal of $15 million.

Regarding declaring war on crime bosses, outside consultant John Linder (called by Mayor LaToya Cantrell) has previously recommended that the city “generate a worst-of-the-worst 10 list that includes the most violent offenders who contribute crime trends in their respective neighborhoods.

Well, increase that number to around 30, and don’t just list them, but tag them publicly and target them. Hunt them down. And, through proper constitutional procedures, put them behind bars for a long, long time.

Meanwhile, to get temporary state police assistance, all Cantrell probably has to do is pick up the phone and call Gov. John Bel Edwards, as did then-Mayor Mitch Landrieu. , previously secured state police assistance for patrols of the French Quarter at the time. Bobby Jindal.

The message for all those frustrated New Orleansers considering leaving town — and we’ve all heard about it — is that it’s too early to quit.

“The post-Katrina spirit and the demand for action is alive and well,” said business leader Gregory Rusovich, who has been heavily involved in the coalition’s efforts. “The community is already demonstrating its impact and results.”

Quin Hillyer, a native of New Orleans, is a senior commentator and editor for the Washington Examiner, working from the Gulf Coast. He can be reached at [email protected] His other columns appear at www.washingtonexaminer.com/author/quin-hillyer.

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