City leaders show united front on annual ‘Night Out Against Crime’

Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 10:52 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - City officials bedeviled by violent crime rates, which have this year given the Crescent City an unwanted designation as the nation’s murder capital, came together with citizens Tuesday night (Oct. 4) to show a united front at a Lower Ninth Ward park.

The 39th Annual “Night Out Against Crime” is a nationwide event, typically held in August. But in New Orleans and surrounding parishes, it’s held in October in a quest for cooler weather.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell and NOPD Supt. Shaun Ferguson were joined by NOLA-PS Superintendent Dr. Avis Williams, Orleans Parish Sheriff Susan Hutson, City Council members and judges for the event at Sam Bonart Playground.

“We know that we have issues, as it relates to our people feeling safe,” Cantrell said. “But we’re doing everything possible to make them safe.”

Ferguson said, “Every night, every day should be a day or night out against crime. We cannot take this anymore.”

In the first nine months of 2022, New Orleans has had more homicides (220) than in all of 2021 (218), according to data from the Metropolitan Crime Commission.

More concerning, the city’s homicide rate of 72 per 100,000 residents ranks as the highest in the nation, according to a study that found New Orleans to be the murder capital of the country.

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“It’s really important that we, as a community, come together,” said Orleans Parish Municipal and Traffic Court Judge Mark Shea. “Not just on ‘Night Out Against Crime,’ but every day, to try to stem this violence.”

With the NOPD’s ranks depleted, leaders sought to show community support for the police and for the youth of the city.

“Guys, our young people are watching us,” schools superintendent Williams said. “And one thing that I say often is, ‘If you want better young people, be a better human.’

“They’re watching us, and they’re taking cues from us.”

In Jefferson Parish, neighbors gathered at an Old Metairie fire station to hold their own “Night Out Against Crime” event.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto stressed the need for vigilance in the community.

“Police can’t be everywhere, right?” he said. “And we know that. We know that most of the time we’re going to be reactionary.

“In Jefferson Parish, we hope to be reactionary very quickly. We can show up very quickly after an incident occurs to prevent the next crime from happening. It’s the citizens that you see behind us that are normally the reporters of it.”

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