New Orleans police recorded another slide in arrests in the first half of 2011, continuing declines that began two years ago led by a reduction in arrests for traffic violations, municipal crimes, and other minor offenses, says a Metropolitan Crime Commission count reported by the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office saw a sharp drop in the number of felony convictions it won in the first half of the year, one that outpaced a drop in the number of cases the DA accepted for prosecution.
Felony arrests in the first half of the year rose from 3,210 in the previous six months to 3,263. The figures mesh with a push by the city to focus on felony arrests, which now make up 19 percent of the total. That’s up from 12 percent in the second half of 2009. Rafael Goyeneche, the commission’s president, said, “We’re not squandering police man-hours or public dollars,” he said of the trend lines. “There is a recognition that if we’re going to attack our crime problem more strategically, it has to be felony arrests.”