By Natasha Robin | WVUE | April 30, 2021
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -Police investigated 5 interstate shootings so far this year, four of them in the last month. Someone shot a man and a woman last night as they drove on the I-10 Eastbound near the High Rise.
“We know for sure, a few of them have involved road rage,” says Chief Ferguson.
While detectives investigate, Chief Ferguson says he’s concerned about the interstate shootings.
Shootings overall are way up.
“Pre-pandemic shootings as of April 30th are up 241 percent,” says Rafael Goyeneche.
Rafael Goyeneche with the Metropolitan Crime Commission says over a three-year period, the numbers are dramatic. In 2019, there were 46 shootings. So far this year, he says there were 157 shootings.
On top of the increase, he points out, NOPD manpower is suffering.
“We also lost more police officers than we hired last year, so we are probably at a decade low of manpower in the police department, coupled with the fact that the French Quarter millage money went away, so we don’t have state police available anymore,” says Goyeneche.
It comes as crowds start to return to the French Quarter.
“Right now, it’s about more intentional investigating. It’s about the way we do our investigations. We have a lot of long term and mid-term, but we need to look at some short-term solutions as well, to address this,” says Ferguson.
Chief Ferguson says he has to use the number of officers he has available, and he’s looking at ways to better investigate crimes and net results.
“We are creating a burden on our homicide detectives, but how are investigating our non-fatal shootings because the non-fatal shootings are just a miss from being a fatal shooting,” says Ferguson.
Last weekend, a shooting on Bourbon Street injured five people, and Ferguson says he’s committed to putting more officers in place along the Bourbon Street corridor but says no other district will suffer.
“If there is any officers to be transferred from one assignment to the other, it won’t be anything that will significantly impact any community and that’s my promise,” says Ferguson.
“You don’t fix this thing without the police department, and the police department needs resources,” says Goyeneche.
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