The federal government is in the midst of an unprecedented intervention into the New Orleans criminal justice system, adding more than 40 agents and prosecutors to regain some basic daily operations lost to Hurricane Katrina nearly two years ago. The effort comes as the city’s violent crime increased 107% the first quarter of this year over the same time in 2006.
About 22 FBI agents are assigned to combat violent crime – at least 13 embedded with homicide detectives. Drug Enforcement Administration agents got a temporary expansion of their authority to deal with gun crimes and other violent offenses, and eight DEA agents were reassigned to work directly with police. Six federal prosecutors were added to the U.S. Attorney’s Office to handle the increased focus on both federal gun and drug cases, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives deployed six additional agents.