This past week has been a particularly violent one in New Orleans. A criminal court judge was carjacked; a couple was brutally assaulted in the heart of the Central Business District. Of course, there was another shootout on the Interstate. It marks the third time in the last few weeks there has been a gun battle on the congested roadway. If a commuter can make it to his car unharmed, then drive safely to the parking garage and finally be able to walk to work unmolested, it is a major accomplishment in the city of New Orleans.
The city is still recovering from the brutal Mother’s Day second line parade shooting, in which 20 innocent people were shot. It was just another vicious assault in a city that specializes in horrific crime news.
The beat goes on in the Murder Capital as the natives are too accustomed to such carnage to become continually outraged; however, negative national publicity will eventually start to interrupt the city’s brisk tourism business.
There are multi-faceted reasons for the crime epidemic. Long term answers involve restoring the family unit, breaking the cycle of poverty and fixing a broken public school system. In the short term, citizens need to take action to fix a dysfunctional criminal justice system which features dangerously liberal judges, overworked prosecutors and understaffed police.
A police department that recently boasted 1,700 officers now includes only 1,200 officers. As approximately 120 officers leave each year, the number of new recruits is slim to none.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu says that it will cost $65 million to recruit and train another 300 officers. It would be wise to cut other areas of government and find these funds for it is money well spent. There is nothing more important to focus on than public safety; the most critical duty for any city leader.
While the department hemorrhages, murders continue to accumulate in New Orleans. According to Irv Magri, President of the victim assistance organization, Crime Fighters of Louisiana, there have been approximately 5,000 murders in New Orleans in the last 20 years. Of those 5,000 murders, there has not been one case of true justice, for none of the killers have been executed.
Capital punishment is legal in Louisiana, but practically non-existent in New Orleans. The last person sentenced to death in New Orleans was Michael Anderson, convicted of killing five people in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. However, it was eventually overturned and Anderson was sentenced to life in prison. Thus, there has not been a successful death penalty conviction in New Orleans since 1997.
For the most part, juries refuse to render the verdict and for those rare few who have been sentenced to death, there are endless appeals on death row. For example, vicious cop killers Antoinette Frank and Len Davis have spent almost two decades on death row.
Capital punishment is just punishment for those who are convicted of first degree murder. If implemented, it would serve as a deterrent to potential murderers. Criminals would know there are consequences for their crimes. In addition, executions would save taxpayers millions of dollars as room, board, clothing and other amenities would not have to be paid for murderers to sit on death row for year after year.
Despite thousands of murders throughout Louisiana during his term of Governor, only one person has been executed in the state during the tenure of Governor Bobby Jindal. Since being reinstated by the Supreme Court in 1976, only 28 people have been executed in Louisiana, the nation’s most violent state.
It is one very obvious reason why crime continues to plague the state, especially the city of New Orleans.