NOLA murders, non-fatal shootings on the rise

NOLA murders, non-fatal shootings on the rise

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - As police investigated another murder in New Orleans East on Thursday a troubling trend was evident. This year, the city is on track to surpass 174 murders, which was the murder rate in 2009, the last year of the Nagin administration. Non-fatal shootings are also up dramatically.

Bullets flew in Central City this week, and into the Maneaux home.

"I can see where a bullet hit the door, and it ricocheted, and hit the front window," said a shocked Cornelius Maneaux.

Some of the bullets also struck an RTA  bus passing by on Martin Luther King Boulevard.

"Screaming and hollering - we all was in shock," said passenger Donna Williams.

"This the ultimate back to the future," said criminologist Peter Scharf with  LSU Health Sciences.

With nine days left in the year, the homicide count stands at 171. It's the second straight year of increases, and some suggest it's time for a new strategy.

"Without a miracle the numbers will be back where they were when (then-police Chief Warren) Riley and Nagin left in 2009 and 10. It was 174 then," said Scharf.

There have also been 342 non fatal shootings this year, up from 247 last year - a 38 percent increase.

"People can endure spikes, but they want to believe you're trying to figure it out," said Scharf.

"We are all very concerned, all very concerned," said New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison, who blames the increases on poor personal choices.

"People are making a decision to obtain guns illegally and do harm, but that's a decision they're making," he said.

A FOX 8 map breaking down shootings by household income shows those choices are often being made in the poorest neighborhoods.

"We are all working with all districts on deployment strategies, with fast response to deter as much as we can," said Harrison.

Though shootings and murders were up dramatically across the city this year, there were pockets where those numbers actually decreased. The sprawling Seventh District, where Thursday morning's homicide took place, saw a 28 percent increase in shootings, but drops in other crimes.

"They had a 9 percent decrease in armed robberies, they had an 11 percent decrease in murders," said Harrison.

Harrison said increased manpower has made a difference in the Seventh. He also said in the year ahead, the department will  graduate three new recruit classes. That's the same as last year, replacing officers at a slightly higher rate than it's losing them.

"How do you keep these 35-year-old-plus folks who can make more money with the feds?" said Scharf, referring to ongoing retainment problems.

Those who live with the shootings in the poorest neighborhoods want help.

"(The bullets) were close. Normally my son is in the front room, and my other boy is in the back," said Maneaux.

They were lucky this time, but worry about the next.

Murders have been steadily rising since a six-year low in 2014. That year saw 148 murders, a number that jumped to 155 last year.

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