Seeking to calm a city rattled by a surge in gun violence, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and his Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas ramped up tough talk and announced they are flooding the streets with officers in a full-court press to combat crime, says the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Civic leaders gathered at City Hall in the wake of a particularly violent and chaotic 24-hour period in which 18 people, including a New Orleans cop, were struck by gunfire. Five of the victims died from their wounds, including a gunman shot by police.
“We want to make sure it’s perfectly clear,” said Serpas, “we are taking this fight to the street. We are going after these criminals with an intensity that has not been seen in the last 18 months.” The two officials were blunt and fiery, their monologues punctuated by clenched fists and steadfast promises. Their speeches hit on well-worn themes: A high number of the city’s victims of violence have criminal histories; the battle to quell crime must be waged on many fronts; and community involvement remains paramount. At least 47 people have been wounded by gunfire in the first 12 days of the year.