By LBJ | WGNO | April 12, 2021

New bill from NOLA lawmaker aims to address violent crime

NEW ORLEANS— Crime in New Orleans and other metropolitan communities is not new. What is new is the spike of a dangerous variety of crime that has many citizens shaken.

Rafael Goyeneche of The Metropolitan Crime Commission(MCC) says, “Violence…we set a record last year that we hadn’t seen in 10 years, and we’re exceeding that record in the first quarter of this year.”

According to Goyeneche the NOPD has been undermanned for some time now and is using officers working overtime to compensate the shortage of manpower.

The pandemic forced the city’s inability to cover overtime and that has contributed to the increase in violent crime.

“In the summer of last year, they eliminated overtime and we saw homicides explode last year, crimes of violence explode last year,” said Goyeneche.

Violent crime also includes carjackings and armed robberies and today, New Orleans State Senator Jimmy Harris (D) proposed Senate Bill 139, offering help prosecuting the perpetrators of some of these crimes.

Harris says, “They’re pretty much terrorizing the citizens so what this bill is doing is is giving the DA, if you have someone that committed a simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling, unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling, it’s giving an opportunity to have increased and enhanced penalties if a firearm is involved.”

The MCC says this closes an important loophole in the law, “If the police now have evidence that someone was breaking into a car or home even if no one was home, even is no one was confronted breaking into the car, and they have proof that they were armed while doing so that is an offense that under Louisiana law can be enhanced.”

Harris says his bill has found some support statewide, “I’ve talked with the DA’s Association, they’re on board. Unfortunately there aren’t many pieces of legislation out there right now to address these issues.”