NEW ORLEANS — At the beginning of this year, NOPD was hit was 23 murders in 31 days, and that upward tick continued through June.
Now, NOPD says the Homicide Unit has increased its solve rate — or the cases cleared by arrests, warrants and exceptions. It’s up to 57 percent, according to NOPD, as compared to 27 percent five months ago.
“There was a point where there was some negative talk about the homicide unit, because some thought our low clearance rate had something to do with the fact that there was problems within the unit,” NOPD Commander Doug Eckert said. “The truth is … the problem was the increase in homicides.”
NOPD explained in a recent video that the Homicide Unit — comprised of 26 NOPD officers and supervisors — is responsible for investigating all homicides in the city, in addition to all major shootings, suicides and unclassified deaths to assist the district investigative units.
Eckert has been the commander over all criminal investigations, including the Homicide Division, since 2015.
“We have seen increases before,” Eckert says. “With the increase that we had this year, it was difficult. That’s about the best way to say it. But everybody put in the work. These detectives put their best foot forward even though at times they’re frustrated and they feel inundated with the amount of work that they do have. It’s not like writing a one-page report, there is plenty that’s involved in this.”
According to Nola.com, there have been 109 murders in New Orleans so far in 2017. In 2016, there were 175 murders for the entire year.