Victim analysis is new tool in NOPD crime-fighting strategy

A Tuesday shooting brings to 24 the number of gun violence victims in the past six days. Five victims have died.

New Orleans Police Chief Ronal Serpas and Mayor Mitch Landrieu call the trend disturbing, but they said the NOPD has strategies in place to try and stop it.

While investigators work to solve the recent shootings and murders, they're calling on the people who know something to come forward. In addition, Serpas said the NOPD now has someone on the force who creates a crime analysis of victims. He said that information is helping to develop leads.

"He creates a map for us, and it's every contact that victim has had in his life with someone in the criminal justice system," Serpas said. "That gives us clues now that we've never had before, and it's making a huge difference for us."

"This weekend was a really bad weekend that we had," Landrieu said. "Way too many shootings, and of course, way too many murders. But you have to keep driving, and it's not something that's going to happen overnight."

While police don't think the shootings are related, Serpas said some of them share the same scenario.

"Two young men knew one another, have been involved with guns," Serpas said. "They've been in and out of the criminal justice system with gun charges, and they found one another in a moment of anger and took action."

Serpas said the city's murder rate remains low, but he said one murder is too many. He believes a strategy implemented in 2012 to target young men involved in gang activity is making a difference.

"We have a lot of young men who are making incredibly poor choices," he said. "We've had six call-ins with over 187 young men who came into the call-in, heard the message from the mayor, from the police: 'Change your life. We are here to help you.'"

The crime-fighting initiative is part of the mayor's NOLA For Life plan, but the mayor said results will take awhile.

"I'm committed to have a city of peace, and we have to put the resources in place to do that, but we need the help of the public, as well," Landrieu said. "We've had a lot of success over the last couple of years, but we are not close to where the city needs to be."

With initiatives, new strategies and a plea for the public's help, the department is vowing to continue its fight to stop the bloodshed.

So far, no arrests have been made in any of the shootings or murders that have happened since May 22. Serpas said there are leads in some of the cases, and he expects arrests to be made soon.

He also pointed out that the public is coming forward more often than in the past, and he attributes that to an increase in calls to Crimestoppers.

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