Increased homicide rate in New Orleans, as survey shows more people are satisfied with the NOPD’s performance

Updated: Oct. 14, 2020 at 5:43 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Of the 800 people questioned for a New Orleans Crime Coalition survey, 57 percent of them were satisfied with the NOPD.

“Good news. The trending is up since September 17, we were at 51 percent. Now, we are at 57 percent so the trending is up,” Gregory Rusovich said.

Gregory Rusovich with the New Orleans Crime Coalition says 81 percent of people say they feel safe in their neighborhood. Still, he says one of the biggest areas of improvement is the NOPD’s ability to solve violent crime.

“The concerns are that the population, New Orleanians, are concerned with the lack of the NOPD being able to solve violent crime, but also being able solve car break-ins, and auto burglaries and getting drugs off the street,” Rusovich said.

“Right now, the murder rate is number 3 or 4 in the country. We’re right behind Detroit. You know we could easily beat Detroit, which is a tragedy, so you get good news and bad news for perceptions,” said LSU Criminologist Peter Scharf Ph.D.

LSU Criminologist Peter Scharf points out the city’s murder and shooting rate is much higher so far this year compared to last, something NOPD Police Chief Shaun Ferguson says he’s well aware of.

“This year, we know and acknowledge that homicides are up over 60 percent in the city of New Orleans,” Chief Ferguson said.

Ferguson says New Orleans isn’t alone and says the increase of homicides and shootings area trend nationwide. Still, Scharf says the increase in New Orleans is higher than most places.

“How did we go from 119 murders last year, projected to somewhere between 190 and 200 murders this year. That’s back to 2011,” Scharf said.

Chief Ferguson took action earlier this month, dissolving the NOPD’s TIGER unit, which investigated armed robberies and created what he called VCAT. It stands for the ‘Violent Crime Abatement Team’.

“The goal is to reduce overall violent crime throughout the city of New Orleans in armed robberies, shootings, as well as any firearm violations. This is driven by intelligence and mission-led investigations,” Chief Ferguson said.

The State Police and FBI will also work with the VCAT team, bringing federal and state help to the NOPD.

“Hopefully this will work. Hopefully, they’ve really thought it through,” Scharf said.

The NOPD says the positive responses from the satisfaction survey are encouraging, but Chief Ferguson says his department will continue to fight violent crime and solve open cases.

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