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Mayor’s plan to combat crime includes $42 million in American Rescue Plan money

Published: Jun. 14, 2022 at 4:40 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 14, 2022 at 4:43 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The City of New Orleans is getting another $155 million cash infusion from the American Rescue Plan Act.

The mayor wants to spend a quarter of it on public safety, and the vast majority on programs for culture bearers, and programs for youth.

In a city that’s on pace for one of its highest murder rates in years, Mayor LaToya Cantrell says more federal dollars are on the way to help fight crime.

Mayor Cantrell says the money will be used for things like new equipment for the police academy and DNA lab, new police cars, and ambulances.

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With police manpower now hovering below 1,000 officers, some believe hiring new officers should be the city’s top priority. The city council last week approved a new police recruitment and retention plan, but some say more needs to be done.

Aside from the $42 million going to the police department and public safety, the mayor says another $100 million in ARPA funds will go to generational economic and workforce development.

“That touches all our areas; industry, film, culture bearers, small business owners,” said Mayor Cantrell.

Mayor Cantrell says spending on what she calls “generational economic transformation” is critical to her goal of tackling poverty, which often contributes to crime.

“This is holistic and ongoing,” Mayor Cantrell said.

Some say tackling crime should be job one.

“Do you put it all in personnel, or do crime lab? You need to do a balancing act,” said LSU Health criminologist, Dr. Peter Scharf.

The city has now received a total of $388 million in funds under the American Rescue Plan. Some of that money is also helping cover sanitation costs, new fiber infrastructure, and maternal and child health care.

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