By WDSU Digital Team | May 9, 2022
NEW ORLEANS — Residents in the New Orleans Metro area have a chance to help solve crimes and get paid an extra $1,000 for doing it.
Crimestoppers announced the new initiative to solve violent crimes at a news conference Monday.
The program offers $1,000 to people who can lead police to a gun used in a crime. If ballistics testing shows that the gun is a match to other crimes, the organization will give the tipster an additional $200 per crime, up to $2,000.
Crimestoppers typically offer a $2,500 cash reward for tips leading to the arrest of a homicide suspect. Darlene Cusanza, president and CEO of the local CrimeStoppers chapter, said that means a person could earn as much as $5,500 total under the new program.
Sheriffs from nine different parishes, including Jefferson, St. James, St. John the Baptist and St. Bernard attended the announcement, as well as NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson and Orleans Parish District Attorney Jason Williams.
The law enforcement officers who spoke at the event stressed how important strong evidence is to solving crimes and securing convictions.
“That is the key to this, getting the information, getting us the evidence, so we can provide a good case to the DA so that he can do his job of prosecuting them,” said Ferguson.
A new report from the Metropolitan Crime Commission shows the NOPD has been doing that. This year, 83% of homicide cases have been accepted by the district attorney’s office.
However, the same report found that more than half of violent felony cases end in dismissal or a misdemeanor plea.
WDSU reached out to DA Williams for a response. A spokesperson sent us the following statement:
“This administration has been squarely working to increase safety by focusing on the perpetrators of violent crime in New Orleans. The DA’s Office has secured over 90 grand jury indictments and over 4,000 convictions via guilty plea since January 11, 2021. And since jury trials were resumed by the court in March, our office has fought for and secured convictions in 10 of 14 cases that have gone to trial, including 3 cases, personally tried by DA Williams himself.
“The public can always check our work and results in real time on the office’s first ever data dashboards, at orleansda.com. The public can rest assured that the DA’s Office is coordinating & collaborating every day, with Chief Ferguson and the hard-working women and men of the NOPD, to ensure that those who choose to engage in violent behavior in our neighborhoods are held accountable. The Metropolitan Crime Commission’s deep dive into the numbers is evidence of that. We thank them for their efforts and their commitment to improving our system.”
CrimeStoppers also presented each agency in attendance Monday with a crime scene barricade so that officers can shield homicide victims from bystanders.
“This barricade may seem like not a huge deal, but part of the reason that crime and violent crime is surging the way it is because people in our neighborhoods are becoming numb to violence,” Williams said.