New Orleans Crime Commissioner Quits After 18 Months; Homicides Still High


After less than 18 months as New Orleans crime commissioner, attorney and former City Councilman James Carter has resigned, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Carter was appointed in 2011 by Mayor Mitch Landrieu to a post created with the intent of curbing the city’s intractable murder rate. When Landrieu gave Carter the job, he said his sole task would be to abate the city’s “unnatural” highest-in-the-nation murder rate. City officials have rolled out a series of initiatives to quell the killing. The NOLA for Life plan, which Carter led with Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas and Health Commissioner Karen DeSalvo, aimed to prosecute drug kingpins, educate young people, and provide mentoring, job training and housing opportunities for offenders. CeaseFire, modeled on similar initiatives in other cities, sends out violence “interrupters” in hopes of preventing retaliation murders

Carter also revamped the Youth Study Center, where juvenile offenders are housed; coordinated a pre-trial services program in partnership with the Vera Institute; and launched the Saving our Sons and Midnight Basketball campaigns. None of those programs has had much of a measurable effect yet. The city has recorded 137 murders so far this year — an average of 3.61 each week. Last year, 199 people were murdered in New Orleans, for a weekly average of 3.82. If current trends continue, the city will see 188 slayings this year. Carter said: “I did an excellent job. Again, this is a long-term deal. We’ve laid a foundation. We have traveled the road less traveled, not taken the easy approach in dealing with a tough issue.”

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