By Natasha Robin | WVUE | March 10, 2022

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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – A brazen carjacking unfolds at a New Orleans East gas station, and the manager says it’s happened there more than a dozen times this year.

“It made me think, and there weren’t a dozen different perpetrators,” says Rafael Goyeneche.

Rafael Goyeneche of the Metropolitan Crime Commission says it’s often the same people committing the carjackings, shootings, and murders. He says the only way to stop it is to arrest, prosecute and convict those responsible, something he points out, is starting to happen.

“What’s been created is, the Superintendent of Police announced a new task force, and that I believe will produce the same results we saw years ago with the multi-agency task force,” says Goyeneche.

He says officers are arresting more violent offenders, but the crime is still high. So far this year, there’s been more than 186 armed robberies and carjackings, 41 murders, and 93 shootings.

Once arrests are made, it’s in the hands of D.A. Jason Williams’ office and the Criminal Court Judges.

“I think it’s significant that this week we saw jury trial resume, and the D.A. actually tried one of the cases and secured a guilty as charged verdict. It’s been 2 years since we’ve had a murder case go to trial,” says Goyeneche.

The Metropolitan Crime Commission now tracks not only crime stats, but also statistics from the D.A.’s Office.

The MCC found that in the past 5 months, there was a 16% increase in acceptance rates.

“And the increase suggests that police and prosecutors are working together in ways that they weren’t working on last October,” says Goyeneche.

He also points out, there were no 701 releases since February 1st.

“So, I think the public scrutiny and the public having available information that was previously unavailable to them is not only empowering to the public, but it also motivated the criminal justice officials to do a better job of performing their responsibilities,” says Goyeneche.

Still, Goyeneche says the biggest hurdle moving forward is police manpower.

“So, we need to double down on recruitment, and I know the city is working on its pay raise which is more about retention, but we need to lean into recruitment,” says Goyeneche.