By Kimberly Curth | WVUE | January 25, 2021
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – Carjackings are up more than 50% in New Orleans compared to this time last year, according to city calls for service data. City leaders addressed the spike in violent crime during a Criminal Justice Committee meeting Monday, Jan. 25.
“We have seen numerous arrests of carjackings, just this weekend we arrested a 14-year-old female. We have a 12-year-old and 13-year-old male that are wanted for carjackings,” said New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Shaun Ferguson.
Ferguson says his department continues to see repeat offenders, some he says are escalating in their crimes.
“You said a guy you all arrested for two attempted murders was released, how does that happen?” City Councilman Jay Banks asked Ferguson during the meeting.
“Very low bonds, unfortunately, that is the climate that we’re in right now, very low bond, he’s able to get that low bond and be released and then a month or two later we’re investigating him for another shooting,” responded Ferguson.
Chief Judge Karen Herman with Orleans Criminal District Court also weighed in.
“We’re dedicating ourselves to take an individualized approach to each defendant that comes before the commissioners,” she said. “But, because of COVID, because of the numbers going on in the jail, that’s another factor to consider. I would imagine, hypothetically speaking, if someone is arrested multiple times for the same offense that will go into a higher bond as the person continues to be arrested.”
Orleans Parish District Attorney Jason Williams says he will be focused on decreasing and tracking repeat offenders so the city can measure what is working and what isn’t. Williams says he is also exploring intervention services for both adults and juveniles.
“The technology has improved on monitoring, such that, it’s not an ankle monitor anymore, it’s something that looks almost like an Apple watch and if a young person or an adult is told they can only go to school and home or work and home or counseling and home and work than we can geo-fence those locations with new technology and make sure that that is where they are,” Williams said.
According to the Metropolitan Crime Commission, about half of the city’s violent crime over the past five years unfolded in New Orleans East, the 9th Ward, Bywater, and Marigny.
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, communities in those neighborhoods gathered for a “stop the violence” campaign, and say they need help from law enforcement and their elected officials.
The NOPD says New Orleans reflects a nationwide rise in violent crime and the exact reason is difficult to pinpoint, although the department has suffered budget cutbacks along with due to COVID-19.
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