Mayor Cantrell, city leaders discuss gun violence reduction strategies

Around $40 million has been invested in programs to cut back on violence.
Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 1:34 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 30, 2021 at 7:04 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - New Orleans leaders held a press conference Tuesday to discuss ways to reduce gun violence.

The announcement comes on the same day the New Orleans Crime Coalition released findings from a new survey that shows the majority of residents feel the city is not safe and crime has gotten worse.

Mayor Latoya Cantrell’s plan centers around three points: prevention, apprehension, and intervention.

“The way we have responded to the public health crises of this global pandemic is the same way that we need to respond to violent crime in our community,” Cantrell said. “It takes all of us and all of us play a tremendous role.”

Over $25 million has been invested in prevention this year starting programs aimed at helping vulnerable families and children with basics like schooling and job training as well as opportunities.

“It’s going to take this type of hand holding, this type of intentionality to meet our young people where they are, but to give, not only them the services that they need, but also the reassuring of their parents what they need,” Cantrell said.


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Two months ago, Cantrell also created the Gun Violence Prevention Office, which comes up with ways to mediate conflicts and intervene in communities without gun violence.

As far as apprehension goes, Cantrell boasts NOPD’s 60-percent clearance rate, but says it’s clear they need help.

“We must find out what we’ve got to do to hire and maintain and take care of the individuals that we’ve got our public safety agencies,” Colonel Terry Ebbert, the Director of Homeland Security and Public Safety said.

On top of creating a taskforce to figure out the retention issue across police fire and EMS, Cantrell also says there are burdens that can be taken off their shoulders, pointing out in 2019 there were 3,000 calls better suited for a mental health professional.

“To set up a system in which a call for help to 911 that doesn’t fit the police, fire, EMS boxes, but is safe and appropriate will receive an appropriate response in terms of trained behavioral health practitioners who then are connected to a system of care that can better take care of patients,” Dr. Jennifer Avegno with the Health Department said.

The last step, intervention, in which $9 million dollars has been invested in job and education programs for both youth and adults reentering society.

“Nothing stops a bullet like a job, so aligning our young people with the soft skills that they need, but also the workforce training that they need, as well as the workforce opportunities to earn,” Cantrell said.

Cantrell says her administration has created more than 19 programs and offices focused on reducing crime through alternative methods, many funded by federal grants.

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