Gert Town neighbors applaud city's crime reduction plan - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Gert Town neighbors applaud city's crime reduction plan

New Orleans, La. - 18 alleged gang members of the 3NG gang pleaded ‘Not Guilty' in a packed courtroom at Tulane and Broad.

"Leon Cannizzaro has decided to use a RICO prosecution style which means he can get all of these guys together and he get hear say in, because of other co-conspirator statements," says Joseph Raspanti.

FOX 8 Legal Analyst Joe Raspanti says while it's an advantage for the DA's office to prosecute the alleged gang members under the RICO statute, it will be a logistical nightmare for the court moving forward.

"You'll have 16 lawyers or so, who all have their own trial dockets. It's going to be very difficult and I'd bet the Judge is either going to have to pick dates very far into the future of pick Saturdays to get 16 lawyers in the room at one time," says Raspanti.

Prosecutors say the gang terrorized an area of Central City and the case links the alleged members to ten killings.

The 3NG gang is just one of several other gangs now making its way through the criminal justice system.

The crackdown is part of the Mayor's crime fighting plan, ‘NOLA for Life'.

"We have for the first seven months seen our murder numbers get reduced significantly and that's a sign that some of that might be working," says Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

Saturday is ‘NOLA for Life' day in Gert Town at the Norwood Thompson Playground. Coaches and parents believe the city's murder reduction strategy is working.

"Our youth are important to us, but the way things were before NOLA for Life, we were losing our children," says Rev. Neldon Lewis.

The Gert Town playground recently reopened with major improvements.

"Parents can now allow their children to come to an environment where it was once a dangerous spot," says Rev. Lewis.

They believe the crackdown on alleged gangs and the revitalization of neighborhood playgrounds will send a strong message to the future generation.

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