By Paul Murphy | WWL-TV | December 9, 2020

NEW ORLEANS — A 26-year-oldwoman was shot and killed inside a car in the 6000 block of Music Street in Gentilly. 

It was one of four shootings reported in New Orleans during a span of 8 hours overnight. It’s the latest example of a violent crime spike in the city. 

“Our homicides are up in New Orleans,” NOPD Deputy Chief Paul Noel said. 

 Way up. 

According to the Metropolitan Crime Commission, there have been 189 murders in the city so far this year. 

That’s compared to 111 this time last year, an increase of about 70 percent. 

“We have a storm of crime, violent felony crime that isn’t approaching, it here and it’s established, MCC President Rafael Goyeneche said. 

He added that New Orleans is now on pace to exceed 200 murders for the year for the first time since 2011. 

NOPD Deputy Superintendent John Thomas points out the 121 murders last year was a 49 year low in the city. 

“We are right on really where the average is over probably the last 10 years. I don’t think we’re going to get to 200,” Thomas said. 

The city is also seeing spikes in other categories of violent crime. 

Shootings are up by 78 percent compared to last year. 

Carjackings have also skyrocketed by about 153 percent.   

Goyeneche says right now, the NOPD has fewer officers on the street to respond to crime. 

“We saw police overtime eliminated during the last half of this year coupled with the furloughing of officers,” Goyeneche said. “At a time when murder and violent crime is increasing, we’re giving the police less resources and asking them to do more with less.” 

The city administration is forcing all city employees including police to take two leave days without pay per month to address a budget shortfall brought on by the Coronavirus shutdown.  

Thomas downplayed the impact of the furloughs on police manpower. 

“I did an analysis of what the leave without pay meant as it relates to the officers that’s out on the street,” Thomas said. “So normally it’s down one officer per shift, per district as it relates to that. So, that is not a significant decrease in the manpower.” 

As police work to get the violent crime spike in the city under control, the NOPD is reminding residents they also have a role to play in fighting crime. 

“We need information from the public,” Chief Noel said. “Just please, if you have information please let us know.” 

The NOPD has now deployed it “Situational Response Team” to parts of the city experiencing an uptick in violent crimes.