By Morgan Lentes | WDSU | August 23, 2022


The Mayor’s Office of Gun Violence Prevention has been working to combat crime in New Orleans for just over a year.

The office, which was created in April 2021, is run by director Patrick Young. He spoke exclusively with WDSU on Monday about the progress made in that time and the work that still needs to be done.

Young highlighted one program that looks to tackle the issue of recidivism by employing formerly incarcerated individuals.

“Whether it’s missing lights, whether it’s cars, overgrown lots, you go in and you clean those areas out, and the people are appreciative in those communities,” Young said. “We’ve seen 170 people complete our program. Only two people have recidivated.”

The gun violence prevention team has also partnered with Tulane University to track crime trends and what is causing them. Young said that data will eventually be released in a report every six months.

“To be honest, there was no information and to be transparent and say, ‘Hey, we’ve just been learning and figuring it out every day’ is the first step to making progress,” said Young. “Is it the educational system? Is it poverty? Is it racial? We have to find the underlying root cause.”

When asked what he thinks is causing the most gun violence in New Orleans, Young pointed to trauma and how people respond to it.

“We have to learn how to teach social-emotional learning, not only in school but in community,” Young said. “Why do we feel this way and why do we feel like we have to respond violently?”

Currently, the Office of Gun Violence Prevention has 11 employees. Young admitted that like many agencies, his is understaffed.

He stressed that his team is just one piece of a much larger puzzle, comparing the need for a collective effort to combat crime to the fight against COVID-19.

“We need everybody to buy in and do the same thing to stop the spread of violence. This office alone, the mayor alone, the city council alone, the NOPD alone cannot do it,” Young said.

According to a report released Monday by the Metropolitan Crime Commission, there have been 457 shootings in New Orleans in 2022. 143 of which were fatal.