NOPD reports a 55% drop in homicides for the month of July; year to date still up

Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 8:57 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Murder numbers dropped dramatically to their lowest level in over a year in New Orleans last month. The police chief credits a number of factors, including more federal help. But many say it is too early to say whether the reduction will be a trend.

New Orleans Police responded to another early morning shooting in the east Wednesday morning, as it reports some progress and the fight against homicides.

Officers were dispatched to the 10000 block of Roger Drive where they located a man who sustained a gunshot wound to the body.

“When I woke up the neighbor said what happened and then police said what happened,” said a resident, who complained about a general lack of patrols.

Violent crime continues to be a problem in New Orleans where there have been 100 more murders year to date than in 2019, but for the month of July, a sharp reduction.

“17 homicides in the month of July, the lowest month this year and the lowest since last summer,” said NOPD Supt. Shaun Ferguson.

That’s a 55% drop from June’s murder total of 31 and the chief gives credit to the criminal justice system for doing a better job of keeping suspects in jail once they’re arrested.

“I don’t know if it’s a prosecution thing or a bail reform thing or why but we’ve seen a few of our violent offenders remain in jail over the last several weeks and we do appreciate that,” said Ferguson.

Though the monthly murder rate dropped, homicide is up 38% year to date, armed robberies are up 39%, but aggravated rape and assaults are down by more than 10%. And officer attrition remains a problem

“Retention is the most important fight you have. If you can keep people then your recruitment problem is not as bad,” said Loyola criminal justice professor, and former Supt. Ronal Serpas.

Ferguson hopes the July drop in murders is a trend, and he’s urging political leaders to tone down recent criticism.

“What this department cannot fix are the attacks on our officers against our leadership by some of our elected officials,” said Ferguson.

“I think whether you like it or not when you’re in high office, criticism is part of the job,” said councilmember Joe Giarusso, who welcomes the improved July report.

“I think you always want to give praise where it’s due and when you see that great of a reduction in one month it’s really important,” he said.

Chief Ferguson says there is still a lot of work to do. In spite of the July homicide reduction, there were still 100 more so far this year compared to 2019. NOPD policy changes could be on the way. The mayor and the police chief have scheduled an announcement for Thursday.