By Thanh Truong | WWL Eyewitness News | August 21, 2020
“As of August 16th, we’ve seen about a 63 percent rise in shootings, and 39 percent rise in homicides versus last year,” said one researcher.
NEW ORLEANS — On Friday evening a drive-thru viewing was held for Kim Boutte, a Mardi Gras Indian Queen gunned down last week in New Orleans East.
Police say Boutte was an innocent bystander. Boutte’s murder is among at least 111 homicides in New Orleans this year.
Devante Bryant’s murder remains unsolved as well. The nine-year-old boy was shot in the head last month.
According to a report released this week by the Metropolitan Crime Commission, violent crime in the city is up dramatically compared to last year.
“As of August 16, we’ve seen about a 63 percent rise in shootings and 39 percent rise in homicides versus last year,” said Rafael Goyeneche.
Goyeneche is the commission’s president. Goyeneche says to get a handle on the rise in crime, the New Orleans Police Department needs to create a centralized task force.
“Instead of eight little task force units, there’s going to be one run out of headquarters with more experienced supervisors and more experienced officers,” said Goyeneche.
Back in May, the force actually dissolved all district-based task forces after an audit found those specialized units often kept poor records and engaged in unsafe practices, among other issues. Goyeneche says NOPD made the right move then, but the crime situation now demands an immediate change in strategy.
“Every time the police fail to make an arrest, it just perpetuates the problem because you’re dealing with street justice and retaliatory justice,” said Goyeneche.
The surge in crime is coming during a period when law enforcement is under more scrutiny with some people even calling for the defunding of police. Meanwhile, the calls for service to the NOPD remain steady. They average 30,000 thousand per month. Goeyenche said the NOPD’s efforts have been heroic.
“That amount of calls is astounding, and is it any wonder that this police force can’t get in front of that demand for service, particularly to get to all the crimes of violence?” Goyeneche said.
Kim Boutte was murdered after attending another person’s funeral repast. Loved ones are now preparing to lay her to rest. It’s part of a cycle of violence that the numbers indicate is deepening. To see the Metropolitan Crime Commission’s report, click here.