Fewer murders in New Orleans so far this year - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Fewer murders in New Orleans so far this year

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New Orleans, La. - There have been 28 fewer murders this year than there were at this time in 2012, according to the New Orleans Police Department. City officials as well as some victim's families credit the mayor's NOLA for Life plan.

No murder victim is just a number to their family members who miss their loved ones everyday.

"People are dying for no reason," said Becky Graham, who lost her son one year ago. "Innocent lives, people who are striving to do positive things die everyday. The last thing I would have wanted was for my son to be come a statistic to the crime in new Orleans."

Chief Ronal Serpas says until there are no more grieving mothers like Becky Graham - the work of the New Orleans police department will never be done.

"The first 6 months of this year are lower than every year for the last 5 years is a great sign for the city of New Orleans and it's a great future for us to keep working on," Serpas said.

According to police, there have been 80 murders this year to date, and by this time last year there were 108.

"This may be the beginning of a major paradigm reduction," said Peter Scharf, a criminologist at Tulane University.

Scharf believes the numbers are headed the right way, but says there have been similar dips in the number of murders in the past.

"In 2003, the murder rate was 245 then it goes up to 275. So, sometimes you see these year to year changes," Scharf said.

Scharf and Chief Serpas agree the mayor's NOLA for Life plan is already helping to sustain the decreasing trend.

The plan is part enforcement and part prevention. Mayor Mitch Landrieu says opening playgrounds and recreation centers is a part of prevention.

"First of all one murder is too many and we still have too many of them," Landrieu said. "But the NOLA for Life plan is very robust, very detailed, from front to middle to end is evidently beginning to show some signs."

Officials say the first six months of 2013 had the lowest murder rate of the first six months of any year in decades.

These are the kind of statistics that do comfort Becky Graham.

"Most of [the murderers] are convicted felons. They're reoccurring convicts constantly doing the same things over and over again. It becomes habitual in their lives. So closure for me would be to help these people who need this help," said Graham.

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