New Orleans safer after Guard’s arrival

/ Source: The Associated Press

The number of murders in New Orleans has been cut nearly in half since the National Guard and state police arrived to help patrol the city a month ago, and arrests in some crime-plagued neighborhoods have almost doubled, according to police statistics.

In the 30 days before the deployment June 20, there were 21 killings in the city. From June 20 to Wednesday, there were 11.

Police superintendent Warren Riley claimed success in reducing the violent crime rate. Deputy Chief John Bryson called the results “remarkable.”

The Guard was sent to patrol largely deserted, flooded-out areas where looting was still a problem since last year’s Hurricane Katrina. Police task forces were reassigned to beats in the troubled streets of Central City, Pigeon Town and other neighborhoods that have grown increasingly violent. Bryson credits those task forces with the increase in arrests and decrease in killings.

In Central City, the city’s bloodiest neighborhood with 18 of this year’s 67 killings, arrests about doubled since June 20, said Capt. Bob Bardy, commander of a district that includes part of the area.

His officers averaged 150 to 180 arrests per week before June

20. Between July 9 and July 15, they made 318.

Gov. Kathleen Blanco sent the Guard and state police into the city at the request of Mayor Ray Nagin. The violence in Central City — including the fatal shooting of five teenagers — prompted the move.