Crime Spikes in New Orleans

By Endya Gillard

The city of New Orleans experienced high crime rates this year in 2022. The crime rates began rising in 2020 given the hardships of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the New Orleans Police Department has experienced a shortage of police officers ever since. This year New Orleans became the top city with the highest murder rate per capita. Many New Orleans residents said they fear living in the city because the crime is spiraling out of control.

“The police are limited because of the consent decree. They cannot chase criminals or anything,” said Alaina Feria, a lower ninth-ward resident.

Specifically, in Feria’s neighborhood, crime has spiked tremendously over the years. The consent decree is a broad, extensive blueprint designed to restore confidence in law enforcement in New Orleans after an extensive investigation and partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice and the city’s police force.

The lower ninth ward neighborhood in New Orleans is a predominantly African American neighborhood with an estimated population of 67,546 residents. This neighborhood is under the fifth district police station which is “ranked number one on per capita homicides and shootings, second on per capita carjacking, and third on per capita armed robbery,” according to The Metropolitan Crime Commission.

A man walking in Mid City New Orleans in the 3rd district on September 29th where car jackings were at an all-time high. 

The MCC reported the lower ninth ward’s crime increased by 282-percent in homicides, increased by 67-percent in shootings, increased by 429 percent in carjackings, and an increase of 11-percent in armed robberies.

“I believe they are letting the murders happen to drive out the residents in the area so they can gentrify it. Once all the poor people are out, they will reduce crime and attract wealthier people to the area,” said Regina Woodridge, a lower ninth ward resident.

Across the city of New Orleans, homicides are now up 44-percent compared to 2021 which is now tied with armed robbery, according to MCC. In addition to the lower-income neighborhoods, wealthier neighborhoods have experienced an influx in crime rates as well, specifically with carjackings.

“Juveniles are committing car robberies because they know if they get caught, the consequences will be minimal. They are also aware of the consent decree that limits the police in the city. The police cannot do their jobs effectively because of the restrictions of the consent decree,” said Kathy Pierre, a Gentilly resident.

The MCC carjacking report stated there were 12 carjackings in the Gentilly neighborhood in 2021 and 28 in 2022. This is a 13-percent increase in just 1 year. In total, the city of New Orleans has experienced 217 carjackings so far in 2022 and the trend is projected to keep going up.

“Right now, criminals have more rights than law-abiding citizens,” Feria said.

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