NOPD chief explains crimefighting strategy at Loyola symposium - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

NOPD chief explains crimefighting strategy at Loyola symposium

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New Orleans, La. -

Criminal justice experts from around the country gathered at Loyola University Friday to discuss ways to combat crime. The symposium came just one day after FOX 8's exclusive report on a new city-wide initiative to reduce the murder rate.

NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas says the new "group violence reduction strategy" is all about choices.

"If you make the choice to pick up the gun, the police department, U.S. Attorney, the district attorney, the probation and parole agents, federal authorities, we will all make you, under the law, our number one priority," Serpas explained.

The chief outlined the plan Friday during the crime symposium. Also there were a number of criminal justice experts from around the country, including Dr. Robert Sampson, who has studied violent crime in Chicago for over 15 years.

Sampson said of violence in the Windy City, "In the last year its gone up about 25 percent."

A number of comparisons have been made between Chicago and New Orleans, thanks to the level of violence each sees. While Sampson says Chicago hasn't ever implemented an initiative like the "group violence reduction strategy," he thinks it could work in New Orleans.

"It's an important thing to try and do, but we also need to place that in context of these larger educational and neighborhood differences, especially as they occur in the lives of children early on," Sampson said.

The new initiative is part of Mayor Landrieu's NOLA for Life plan, which aims to educate young people and prevent a culture of violence from a young age.

About 50 reputed criminals were told about the plan Thursday at Criminal Court in a one of a kind meeting with city officials and the NOPD's top brass.

"The people who make the bad choices were told yesterday, in all fairness, the rules have changed. We will come for you and your associates with everything we have under the law to ensure that you know that decision had a repercussion," Serpas said.

The initiative was developed by David Kennedy, an expert on violence. Kennedy explains, "This has been done all over the country for almost 20 years now and the bottom line is we really can in any place identify whose driving the violence."

Chief Serpas says he's confident this initiative will work and will drive down the number of violent crimes happening in New Orleans.

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