Gunmen have wreaked havoc on neighborhoods and families across New Orleans in the last seven days, fatally shooting six people and wounding nine others, including women and children apparently caught in the crossfire, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The shootings — several in broad daylight, near busy thoroughfares or bustling street corners — have sent little kids to emergency rooms with bullet wounds to their faces and mothers searching for answers. By late yesterday, no arrests had been made in any of the killings.
The streak of violence that has touched nearly every corner of the city comes 10 months into a year that has seen an overall drop in killings. Compared with the same time last year, murders are down 24 percent, the city says. The body count is at 116, which remains lower than the 152 killings logged in the city by the same time in 2012. While the recent mayhem is alarming, the numbers are not necessarily emblematic of a trend, said Tulane University criminologist Peter Scharf. He said the mayor’s murder-reduction strategy, the NOLA for Life initiative, has shown significant success so far in 2013. Considering the recent carnage and the heinous nature of the crimes, he said residents are probably starting to wonder about its effectiveness. “People thought we had this under control, but now they’re starting to ask themselves more questions,” Scharf said.