The NAACP has started an anticrime drive in the New Orleans area, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Flanked by Police Superintendent Warren Riley and Deputy Marlon Defillo, NAACP president Danatus King described a new initiative to address violence in the community and extended an invitation for help from local, state and federal law enforcement in all surrounding parishes. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Harry Lee cited an almost 50 percent spike in the parish’s murder total this year. He said that of the 35 homicides in the unincorporated areas of Jefferson Parish this year, 28 of the victims were black, as were 21 of the 25 suspects arrested.
“No matter how you cut it, whether it’s a racist statement or not, the murder rate is going out of sight because our young black citizens are killing each other,” Lee said. King announced the NAACP’s formation of the Stop The Violence Committee. Defillo rattled off a list of possible objectives, including rehabilitation programs for substance abusers and anger-management programs in schools. Riley suggested a boot camp for youths 16 to 20 with an education component. To address the faltering witness-protection program, seen by many as a critical problem, King said the NAACP would sponsor a guarded apartment building for witnesses.