After consecutive years in which New Orleans’ murder total appeared to be in a state of modest remission, killings have spiked to a familiar frequency, renewing concerns about public safety and raising questions about the long-term impact of Mayor Mitch Landrieu's much-touted anti-murder initiatives, reports the New Orleans Advocate. The New Orleans Police Department investigated 30 percent more murders in the first half of this year than in the first half of 2014. The violence has seemed unrelenting at times, unbounded by geographic or socioeconomic lines. The victims have ranged from two small children, ostensibly in their mother’s care, to two police officers, both gunned down in the line of duty.
The deaths of the two lawmen have heightened concern considerably, because if criminals “aren't respecting law enforcement, you know the average citizen stands a poor chance,” said Tamara Jackson of Silence Is Violence, a support group for victims' families. “The community is definitely outraged and concerned about their safety, and rightfully so,” she said. “We're really going into a downward spiral, and I don't think there's one solution that I know will work.” City leaders hoped this year to further the sustained decline in murders New Orleans had experienced over the previous three years, a trend that saw the number of killings in 2014 drop to 150, a four-decade low. The city's murder rate remains among the highest in the U.S.