By Morgan Lentes | WDSU | April 27, 2022
NEW ORLEANS — The year is off to a violent start in New Orleans, according to data compiled by the Metropolitan Crime Commission.
A recent report by the organization found that armed robberies, carjackings, homicides and shootings have all increased year-over-year.
President Rafael Goyeneche told WDSU that the trend has been ongoing since 2019.
“The trends that we’re reporting, we started to see these trends escalate from 19 into 20 and from 20 to 21 and in 22, it’s worse than 21,” Goyeneche said.
In the case of homicides, the Metropolitan Crime Commission reports that they have increased 128% since 2019 and a 46% uptick since 2021.
“The key to curbing (violent crime outbreaks) and addressing those is to identify the people that are responsible for the disproportionate amount of violent crime and arresting them, prosecuting them and convicting them,” Goyeneche said. ” Then we see the crime rate go down.”
Goyeneche said he also believes the New Orleans Police Department has a critical staffing shortage, which is limiting the amount of proactive policing that officers are able to do.
“It’s not because the police don’t care,” Goyeneche said. “It’s not because the police aren’t trying, there’s just not enough officers.”
The New Orleans Police Department responded to those concerns with the following statement:
“Law enforcement agencies around the country are facing the same challenges related to recruiting and retention of police officers. This is not unique to New Orleans.
“NOPD’s primary mission is to provide prompt and professional police services to all citizens.
“Operational plans are developed to strategically deploy resources with the utmost regard for ensuring public safety.”
For the family’s of this year’s homicide victims, the pain is still fresh.
Carla Seymone Thomas is still waiting for her son’s killer to be caught. Byron Kelly, 13, was shot and killed in Central City in mid-March.
“The worst of you wants street justice. But the God in you says, ‘Vengeance is a crime,'” Thomas said. “I have had to learn to just pray.”