City Journal Spring 2014

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Spring 2014
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Nicole Gelinas
Policing the Big Easy « Back to Story

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I lived in NOLA during the nineties and early 2000's and it's a different kind of place regarding crime. It's random, vicious, and rarely punished in any meaningful way. Everyone I knew, myself included, were held up at gunpoint at least once. We had shootings- random from thugs passing through and/or robbing pedestrians- every week without fail- and that included murders of kids for a few bucks; and it wasn't a 'bad' street- it was in the Lower Garden District. You cannot move away from violent crime in NOLA.

What's not mentioned in this article is, aside from total police disfunction, the role of an inept justice system. Very few murders ever bring convictions, armed robbers are out in a few days (I'd seen this over and over with cases of friends and neighbors- held up at gunpoint, the criminal is caught (because NOLA is so casual the criminals don't even try to disappear after a crime) and then is out in a few days, committing more robberies- and criminals know this to be the case, there is no deterrent. It's pathetic and that squarely rests on the DA's shoulders, as well as the courts.

So the priorities are all wrong, re crime in NOLA. I loved the city for many reasons but I'll never live there again. It's a great place to go when you're young but if you want to build a life, not the place...
As long as the New Orleans Police has high levels of corruption, there is no chance of a low crime city, no matter what.

The criminal element knows it, and will never respect anyone in uniform or any other person in city government.

Unfortunately there is a large criminal element in city hall, so when city hall is as corrupt as it is, cleaning the police department is going to be tough.

It's actually amazing that this can continue with the city being as dependent on tourism as it is. Most places with this high of a crime rate cannot have a tourism industry because people won't come. Some find the petty crime of New Orleans as part of the "charm" of the place. That attitude has to go too.