NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – A New Orleans City Council meeting on crime brought some angry exchanges with the public.

The meeting, packed with city leaders, lasted about six hours, and although passion from the public interrupted the meeting a couple of times, city leaders are hoping they are on step closer to a solution.

“Work with the people and see what the problem is and fix it! It’s time,” one attendee exclaimed.

Tensions were high at Wednesday’s special meeting of the New Orleans City Council as those in attendance heard troubling statistics, like New Orleans seeing the highest number of murders, 266, in 2022 since Hurricane Katrina.

Some in the meeting battled with council members over having adequate airing to express their concerns.

Many attendees insisted that the city’s crime problems stems from the lack of attention and resources directed toward the youth.

“They’re crying out for our love, our attention, our affection,” another attendee said. “And what have we done?”

In response to what city leaders are calling the public health crisis of violence, the council voted in favor of the city’s health department developing a violence intervention model, using evidence-based interventions, like increasing safe gun storage and boosting the traditional summer jobs program.

“This is a years-long process that the health department will commit itself to, and I know there are many people in the community who will as well as our business and civic leaders have,” Dr. Jennifer Avegno, who leads the New Orleans Health Department, said.

Among those efforts, the New Orleans Mental Health Collaborative was awarded a $2 million federal grant for trauma-informed care and youth services.

“I think the one thing I feel like I heard today from everybody in the audience is we need urgency,” Councilman Joe Giarrusso said. “I think that urgency means, ‘How do we break through barriers? How do we work together where we can? Then, understanding that now that dollars have been allocated, that we have the money, that management is the last piece of that.”

The council also voted to direct the City Planning Commission to hold a public hearing about requiring safety efforts in some of the city’s parking lots.