NOLA CRIME: C.Y.A.

Tue, 20 Jun 2006 19:06:29

That’s C.Y.A as in cover your ass. That’s what was going on at the big dog and pony show called by Oliver the Actor yesterday. Yes that’s right the press conference was NOT called by Casual Ray but he *did* show up to join in the posturing. Thanks man.

The event was of course precipitated by the gangland hit of 5 teenagers in Central City in the wee small hours of Saturday morning. My own sources verified today’s story in the Picayune: it wasn’t a random act of violence but a well-planned and executed hit. The whole thing involves revenge and a turf war between rival gangs.

Back to the City Hall ass covering session. C Ray and the Councilmembers all delivered speeches about how outraged they are by this crime. Outrage is cheap and plentiful in this town nowadays but what is needed is action. And I’m not sure that calling in the National Guard will help us deal with the murderous gangbangers who are the real problem. The devil in this deployment is in the details: what sort of Guard units are coming? If they’re MP units that could be a good thing BUT if they’re your basic infantry grunts the first time they shoot someone the NOLA outrage factory will turn on them. 

Chief Riley’s contribution to the mass ass covering was to claim/state  that he’d asked the state to put some boots on the ground back in March. Perhaps this is true but I’m skeptical of *all* pronouncements from NOLA officialdom these days. Also Riley and his predecessor Eddie Compass have a lot to answer for these days. Why? In their eagerness to put their imprint on NOPD these guys reversed some of the policies put in place by Richard Pennington. They reduced the committment to community policing and overcentralized the department by taking homicide and narcotics away from the district commanders. This was a huge mistake it’s the 8 district commanders who really know what’s going on in their areas. They’re also held accountable by the public at NONPACC meetings and in other forums and they look evasive when they have to tell people that they no longer handle homicides. It’s true y’all the brass have tied their hands.

I was also appalled to learn that the curfew for juvenilles has not been enforced post-K. Many of the worst crimes in this city are perpetrated by males under 18.  Strict curfew enforcement was one of the reasons that the crime rate was reduced under Pennington and  Marc Morial. I realize that it’s unfashionable to say anything positive about Prince Marc BUT unlike his successor he was engaged in this area. C Ray has let things slide on the criminal justice front and only surfaces when there’s some major atrocity to say “C’mon man you woke me up man.”

I was at yet another meeting last night and the subject of course turned to crime. We’re planning some forums to address criminal justice issues. I scared myself by volunteering to help stage one of the events. Anyway a guy who I don’t know said that we should study other cities of comparable size and how they dealt with their crime problems. I think we already know what to do: go back to the future and resume doing things the Pennington way. It worked y’all.

While I’m glad that NOLA officialdumb I mean dum seems to be awakening to the problem I’m skeptical of both the solutions offered and the staying power of the folks at City Hall. Yes gentle readers I’m feeling waspish and cynical even by my own standards. If there’s the slightest downturn in the crime rate C Ray will declare victory and go back to sleep until the next major outrage. 

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