NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — In less than a week and a half, seven-year-old Dillan Burton was shot and killed in her mother’s car in Algiers, and a one-year-old was shot multiple times, allegedly by his own father, in the Marigny.
“Unless and until we acknowledge that we have a critical problem, we can’t begin to fix it,” said Rafael Goyeneche, President of the New Orleans Metropolitan Crime Commission.
Goyeneche says violent crime has been on a steady incline for several years.
“What we are seeing is that violence crime went up from 2019 into 2020, and it went up from 2020 into 2021. I’d like to be proven wrong, but I don’t believe that we’re going to see a reversal of that trend in 2022,” said Goyeneche.
According to data from the crime commission, homicides are up 83% and shootings are up 91%.
“Dozens of times all year were the innocent,” said Goyeneche.
Many of the gun violence victims have been young, like 14-year-old Jamere Alfred, who was shot and killed on Christmas day of 2020, and 18-year-old Gregory Alexander, who was shot and killed Christmas Eve of 2019.
“You should not be shooting at anyone, but it’s innocent people and innocent kids that lives are being taken at an early age which causes very hurt towards the families,” said LaRicha Rousell, Jamere Alfred’s mom.
LaRicha Rousell and Lakecha Shedrick share an unfortunate bond of being mothers who lost their children to gun violence. Now both women have to live without their sons and are pleading for people to heal their own pain before inflicting pain on others.
“You have other means of figuring it out besides putting in your hand and taking another life. We are affected, effected, infected so much now, and it is a decision you cannot change,” said Shedrick, Gregory Alexander’s mom.
Goyeneche says the lack of police officers on the street is a major problem, saying that the number of NOPD officers is at a 50 year low. He says the response rate to 9-1-1 calls in New Orleans is usually hindered because of the police shortage.