NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— The University of New Orleans released its first “Quality of Life” survey in four years, for Jefferson and Orleans Parish. Results found that the overall quality has gone down.

The sample size of the survey was made up of 500 registered voters from both parishes.

“Residents in the city are dissatisfied with life in New Orleans and they say it’s become a worse place to live in the last five years,” Dr. Ed Chervenak UNO Survey Research Center.

Dr. Chervernak’s assessment of residents’ perceptions, points out that at the center of the dissatisfaction is crime. Residents have expressed concern for their safety.

“And in Orleans, residents lack confidence that the police can protect them. So its not just a matter of crime being out there and being fearful of crime, there’s also the sense that nothing is being done,” said Chervenak

The fact is, the entire criminal justice system approval ratings in New Orleans are lower that the previous four years. During that time Mayor Cantrell’s negativity rating has gone from 16% to 62% .

In Jefferson Parish their leaders scored more favorably, even with crime ranking as the primary concern among its residents. Other city services were also addressed in the survey.

“Trash pickup went from a positive rating of 67% to a positive rating of 12%. It dropped off significantly and that was the biggest decrease we saw,” said Chervenak.

Other issues, such as the condition of the streets and infrastructure, were listed as big issues for residents but nothing took priority over crime.

Read full survey here:

“Everything comes down to the issue of crime. This is the issue that’s really weighing down the city and we haven’t seen number like this since the 1990’s when the city was experiencing 400 murders a year,” said Chervenak.

Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng’s office provided this statement on the study:

UNO’s 2022 Quality of Life Survey is great news for us and shows we have earned public support through Jefferson Parish’s most difficult of times in modern history- a pandemic and two very active and devastating storm seasons. The data demonstrates people believe in their government and our economy has remained consistent and strong. 

We are so very excited about all the projects and priorities in the works that will positively impact the quality of life in Jefferson Parish. Our Public Works Departments continue to ensure our roads, drainage, water and sewer systems are properly maintained and updated, even despite the effects of the pandemic, inflation, and labor shortages. On top of that, we successfully got a millage and rate increase passed so are now able to implement water and sewer system improvements all across the parish with funding that secures our resources for the next 20 years. 

We also have so many road projects going on, which we understand can be inconvenient now, but that’s what progress looks like in order for the parish to stay economically viable so that we can continue to build upon the quality of life that all our residents are used to and deserve. 

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s office responded with a statement from Communications Director Gregory Joseph:

“While we understand and respect the concerns raised by the UNO report, this administration remains optimistic about the future of New Orleans. Throughout the City, our residents are experiencing firsthand increased police presence in their neighborhoods due to the additional deployment of public safety officers recently implemented by Chief Ferguson. More officers will, in return, make our communities safer, and the early progress this deployment has produced is encouraging.

In addition, strides continue to be made to clean up this City by addressing decades of old blight like abandoned lots and old buildings. So far this year, over 65 demolitions have occurred throughout the City, with a large portion of these happening in the East – another sign that this administration is committed to a creating a cleaner New Orleans. The City of New Orleans also continues to see its economy rebound from the global COVID-19 pandemic, as we have witnessed the return of major festivals, conferences and events, while economic investment and job creation are all occurring at pre-pandemic levels. This report and others demonstrate why this entire administration remains focused on utilizing the 2023 budget, as well as the federal American Rescue Plan Dollars, to improve quality of life, enhance City services, ensure residents and visitors feel safe and protected and overall meet the needs of our people and continue to deliver results.”