Today, the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) Superintendent Shaun Ferguson and Orleans Parish District Attorney (OPDA) Jason Rogers Williams rolled out a shared four point plan to combat the current crime surge in New Orleans.
Focused around tighter collaboration between agencies, the four strategies include 1.) using national FBI data as a baseline for crime clearance for public sharing, 2.) launching the Serial Crimes Prevention and Prosecution Initiative, 3.) folding Multi Agency Gang (MAG) Unit principles into the NOPD’s Violent Crime Abatement Investigative Team (VCAIT) and 4.) continuing their commitment to strategic partnership to increase safety in New Orleans.
Today’s announcement was held at InspireNOLA’s Edna Karr High School. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of student Keyron Ross, who was sadly murdered, as well as the entire school community of Edna Karr High School.
DA Williams said, “There is a current crime surge and we are surging back. The Chief and I are committed to working closely together, through this 4 point plan, to increase safety and hold violent offenders accountable. The truth is the Chief and I have been meeting regularly since January 11th and we see eye to eye on more things than we disagree on. So, in addition to announcing four important points of a strategic plan to increase safety, we recognize the importance of the community seeing us stand together during these tough times for our city. The people of this city can rest assured that, together, we are focused and prepared to execute on our plans to increase safety in our neighborhoods.”
NOPD Chief Ferguson said, “We have set our differences aside and have agreed to work for the common goal of reducing violent crime so the citizens of New Orleans and our visitors will be safer in their day-to-day lives. A strong working relationship with the District Attorney will go a long way to help in this effort.”
STRATEGY 1 – USING NATIONAL FBI DATA AS A BASELINE FOR CRIME CLEARANCE FOR PUBLIC SHARING
While the NOPD’s solve rate, which includes cases where warrants have been issued, is an important internal measure of the effectiveness of NOPD detectives, Chief Ferguson and DA Williams have agreed to use national FBI data as a baseline for crime clearance in New Orleans going forward. Together, Chief Ferguson and DA Williams understand the importance of all agencies relying on one data set for clear communication to the public. Additionally, this uniformity of data set will support the work of both offices to improve investigation in cases as well as OPDA’s advocacy for higher bonds in court for violent offenders and securing convictions.
STRATEGY 2 – LAUNCHING THE SERIAL CRIMES PREVENTION AND PROSECUTION INITIATIVE
DA Williams and Chief Ferguson have agreed to move forward with launching the Serial Crimes Prevention and Prosecution Initiative. Purposed around achieving citywide reduction in violent crimes in New Orleans committed by groups, the OPDA and the NOPD will provide dedicated personnel and resources to focus solely on these offenders. Together, DA Williams and Chief Ferguson have been meeting frequently with the United States Attorney’s Office as well as other local, state and national partners to target violent offenders in the city of New Orleans. Through this initiative, the goal is to identify webs of criminality and laser-focus on repeat offenders.
STRATEGY 3 - FOLDING MAG UNIT PRINCIPLES INTO THE NOPD’S VCAIT
Chief Ferguson and DA Williams have agreed to combine efforts to combat violent crimes through the existing NOPD-led VCAIT unit and fold the principles of the previous Multi Agency Gang Unit into the VCAIT effort. Regardless of the title of the program, it is the results that matter to DA Williams and Chief Ferguson; the goals and strategies are the same and it is to stem gang violence in New Orleans.
STRATEGY 4 - CONTINUING THEIR COMMITMENT TO STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP TO INCREASE SAFETY IN NEW ORLEANS
There is a current crime surge in New Orleans and together, DA Williams and Chief Ferguson are surging back and doing everything possible to increase safety and ensure violent offenders are held accountable. As highlighted by both Chief Ferguson and DA Williams, last week’s special grand jury indictment of four individuals for a string of armed robberies across New Orleans is proof positive of the power of their agencies working together. The NOPD made the arrests and after close collaboration between agencies, the OPDA was able to secure strong enough evidence to show the web of criminality and secure a grand jury indictment of these four individuals for conspiracy to commit armed robbery with a firearm and 11 counts of armed robbery. Each of these offenders are now facing a penalty of 15 to 99 years.
Together, Chief Ferguson and DA Williams have doubled down on their commitment to increasing safety in New Orleans. And through these four strategies, they are working hard every day to tackle crime in this city and ensure those wishing to wreak havoc in our communities are held accountable.