We try to pay as little attention to politicians as possible. So when names like Trump, Landrieu, Erdogan, Clinton, and Putin come up in our daily gambit across the internet we plow ahead to other more benign interests.
We have little time for the shuck and jive of professional hucksters.
But when we learned that New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu was going to be on Meet The Press our ears perked up. We watched the show when we were young and were thrilled that New Orleans’ endless cycle of violent crime was going to be beamed across the nation via NBC.
As it turns out the subject was not our city’s spiraling crime rate. It was concerning Landrieu’s self-congratulatory speech he delivered last week on his ridding New Orleans of a brace of suddenly controversial war statues.
While our mayor was preparing for his moment in the sun here’s what was happening in our fair city: two stabbings, two shootings, two rapes, four robberies, attempted robbery, victim punches armed robber, man carjacked, man shot in St Roch.
Those were the crimes that were reported the evening before Landrieu’s star turn.
Crimes like these are a daily part of life in New Orleans. While Chicago receives endless coverage for its stunning rate of shootings and murders the Windy City can’t compare to New Orleans for per capita violence.
On May 26th New Orleans marked 290 people shot since January 1st.
Let’s look at some reasons why.
Mayor Landrieu oversaw a massive reduction in New Orleans’ Police Department between 2010 and 2017.
At the end of 2009 New Orleans had 1,546 officers. At the end of 2016 we had 1,165. We lost a quarter of our cops due to Landrieu’s disastrous NOPD hiring freeze.
Violent crime rose 43.3 percent from 2013 to 2016. Murder rose 11 percent; robbery rose 27 percent; assault rose 40 percent. Source (Jeff Asher)
And the number of arrests made by New Orleans police force plunged 44 percent during that same span.
In a rare bit of good news, the number of arrests for violent felonies rose 44 percent over the same span from 1,263 in 2013 to 1,819 in 2016.
We have little doubt that Mitch Landrieu’s rhetoric can shine on a TV show or behind closed doors to an invitation-only crowd of admirers. But look under the veneer of his office and you’ll find little more than a career politician utilizing the old “watch the hands, watch the hands” magic trick.
Check out the Metropolitan Crime Commission’s report on the state of Orleans Parish criminal justice.
We live in the greatest city in the United States but we’re left to wonder how much better it could be if we had someone in charge willing to put in the hard work of making New Orleans safe for its residents.
Now we can get back to our more pressing work of eating 500 Po Boys.