NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Over a one week period, NOPD data shows overall crime across New Orleans went down 17 percent. In the last week of May, there were 168 auto burglaries, compared to 128 incidents in the first week of June. That’s a 24 percent decrease. Armed robberies went down 64 percent.
During that same week, Juvenile Court Judges started becoming more involved in the detention process. The Judges announced, any arrested juvenile who pose a safety risk to the public will have to see a Judge before being released.
“It’s going in the right direction, and we’re doing something proactive,” says LSU Criminologist Peter Scharf.
Scharf says the decrease in numbers are encouraging, but it’s way to early to know exactly why it happened.
Still, he believes Juvenile Judges getting involved could certainly make an impact.
“We need to get them earlier. We have to use resources, and deter these kids before it becomes a lifestyle, and before it effects our overall crime rates,” says Scharf.
The city also began aggressively enforcing curfew as an intervention tool for juveniles.
“We believe that it’s effective, and we’ll see and time will tell. One good thing about it is that our NOPD Officers have been able to pick up our young people, community policing and bring them straight home,” says Mayor Cantrell.
In the first week of June, the city says NOPD officers picked up 12 juveniles for violating curfew.
“We need to expand our resources from the Covenant House, the Youth Study Center and Juvenile Judges and we can turn this thing around,” says Scharf.
While Scharf says it’s way too early to attribute the decrease in crime to the juvenile crime initiatives, he’s hopeful.
“These numbers are really helpful. They’re pointing in the right direction. The big challenge is how do you sustain them. How do you extend it to the more difficult youth?”