New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin told tourism industry leaders yesterday that they could help address concerns about crime by hiring young people through the city’s summer jobs program, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “I know your industry is concerned about crime,” Nagin told 650 people. “I’m asking you to step up and hire some young people in this community.”
Crime is on the radar screen of the local tourism industry after a fatal shooting at a Carnival parade in February, a fatal shooting after the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on May 1, and several other tragedies in the past year involving visitors to the city. The suspects in the Carnival and Jazzfest killings are young men.
Stephen Perry, president of the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau, made only a passing reference to public safety in his speech. Perry said afterward that he didn’t talk about crime because the convention bureau thinks the police department’s effort to assign more officers to areas where crime is most rampant and Nagin’s increasing the numbers of officers on the streets are enough to take care of the problem.