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NOPD: 59% homicide solve rate; low manpower

Published: May. 12, 2021 at 10:43 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -Homicide cases are surging, up 108 percent from two years ago.

“It’s sad when you hear about shootings especially night after night in New Orleans,” says Ken Caron.

Every unsolved violent crime, like homicides, creates the potential for more violence.

“So, that’s why it’s so important to keep up with arresting the people that are perpetrating the violent crimes,” says Rafael Goyeneche.

Rafael Goyeneche of the Metropolitan Crime Commission points out the NOPD’s homicide solve rate is 59 percent this year. The solve rate consists of arrests, warrants, or cases in which the suspect dies.

“Which represents a dramatic improvement over where things were a few years ago, and even over the last year, but again we’re 5 months into the year, so let’s not throw a parade. We still have an exploding homicide rate,” says Goyeneche.

“The NOPD cannot do this alone. The NOPD is one part of the criminal justice system, and their role in the criminal justice system is to make an arrest once a crime has occurred,” says Beau Tidwell.

The Mayor’s spokesperson, Beau Tidwell, says every criminal justice stakeholder, including the courts and D.A.’s office, has to play a part in reducing crime.

“You are going to see more conversations around the social programming and outreach efforts that the administration and various departments and agencies are working on,” says Tidwell.

Tidwell says it will take a combination of enforcement and programming.

Goyeneche, though, says arresting suspects must come first, and while he says the NOPD’s current solve rate is impressive, he’s unclear how the department can sustain those numbers with a critically low manpower issue.

“This is the lowest number that I’ve seen since 1978, so that’s pretty shocking,” says Goyeneche.

Right now, the NOPD says it has 1165 commissioned officers.

“That’s why the manpower crisis is so critically important to the police department’s ability to not only respond to the calls but to make arrests of the repeat and violent offenders that are driving our violent crime problem,” says Goyeneche.

Goyeneche says the NOPD will likely lose more officers this year than it can hire and train.

“And crime is going up, and we’re asking fewer officers to do more with less and it’s not going to end well for the community. If public safety is a priority then it starts with the police,” says Goyeneche.

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