NOPD looking at new technologies in crime fight

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The New Orleans Police Department is considering new technology as it tries to crack down on a recent spike in shootings, and officers are hoping to make a difference as thousands prepare to go downtown to shop and celebrate the holidays.

A Monday evening fatal shooting at the corner of Canal and Rampart streets, where many catch the bus, illustrated how urgent the need is.

"This is hard to stop when folks are targeting the persons they are after," said Kurt Weigle with the Downtown Development District.

But trying to stop it is the work of the NOPD.

"They have some leads they are following up on, and I feel confident they will do more soon," Eight District Commander Jeffery Walls said.

Homicide detectives found new video that they hope will lead to an arrest in an area which is already has already gotten extra manpower.

"Last week along we used 44 hours on top of having officers working 12-hour shifts," Walls said.

Criminologists say what New Orleans is experiencing is part of a national trend.

"It's ticking back up violence of all sorts - murders, aggravated shootings," said Loyola criminologist George Capowich.

Though experts say guns aren't likely to go away, they also say it might be time to consider stricter controls.

"Smart guns won't work if the owner's hand prints aren't there," Capowich said.

Eighth District officers say they have already confiscated 36 percent more guns than they did last year as they look for new methods.

"We're looking at drones and different types of things. It's cheaper to put up a drone than a helicopter," said Walls.

Shootings at Canal and Rampart are not unheard of, and some say it may be time to relocate bus routes.

"You can change bus stops so you don't get those congregations of people to make an offender not find a target so easily," Capowich said.

"We know it's an issue, and we've discussed it with RTA," said Walls.

The Downtown Development District says it has two to four extra officers on patrol on Canal Street in addition to the normal police contingent. In spite of the recent shootings, the NOPD says violent crime is down 14 percent in the Eighth District this year, compared to last.

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