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Mayor, law enforcement tout progress in curbing gang violence

NEW ORLEANS - Flanked by key members of the criminal justice system in New Orleans Tuesday, Mayor Mitch Landrieu touted results in reducing the murder rate.

"In the first 11 months of this year, we have the fewest number of murders in the city of New Orleans that we have had in 40 years," he said. "That is measurable progress. It is good progress. It is something to be aware of, but it is not something to be comfortable with. We still have a very long way to go."

Landrieu said the strides are made possible, in part, by the ongoing effort to battle gang violence in the city.

According to law enforcement officials, this year, they've secured indictments for 74 suspects allegedly involved with seven different gangs - including groups like the 110ers, the Taliban gang and Ride or Die.

Authorities said they continue holding "call-in" meetings where law enforcement meets face-to-face with known gang members.

"We let them know that we know who they are, where they live, who they hang out with and we know more about them than they think," Landrieu said.

During the meetings, authorities offer the suspected gang members help in turning their lives around.

"If they opt not to do that, then we're going to be there with the full brunt of the enforcement aspect," said Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro.

NOPD Supt. Ronal Serpas points out that some of the most gut-wrenching crimes over the past couple of years were allegedly carried out by gangs.

"The 110ers took the life of five year old Briana Allen and the 3NG took the two year old life of Kiera Holmes," he said. "Our homicide unit worked nonstop, relentlessly, around the clock and arrested who we believe are the people responsible for the shooting death of 7 month old Deshawn Kinard."

On Monday, officials said their efforts to stifle group violence continue.

"Enough is enough," Serpas said. "These teams of local, state and federal prosecutors and detectives and agents will not turn back."

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