Some $28 million in new grants to the national Public Safety Partnership (PSP) and other crime reduction efforts have been announced by the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance. DOJ has funded more than 70 projects in the program.
In a speech to a PSP conference in Memphis on Monday, Adler detailed progress in two cities, Milwaukee and New Orleans. In Milwaukee, homicides had reached a peak in 2015. The Milwaukee police, working with other local and federal partners, established one of the nation’s most robust crime analysis divisions, Adler said. “Not surprisingly, they found that a small segment of the population was responsible for the vast majority of violent crime. Even today, half of all non-fatal shootings occur in just a dozen of the city’s almost 200 neighborhoods.”
Under PSP, authorities focused their efforts on reducing gun violence “by committing to immediate investigations and preventing retaliatory acts. Through this combination of analysis and focused investigation, the city has seen a decline in homicides for three straight years,” Adler said.
In New Orleans, violent crime increased jumped 14 percent from 2015 to 2016, and it had risen 30 percent over the previous five years. New Orleans police focused on a two-square mile area known as Central City Square. They identified the most prolific offenders, many of whom were prosecuted in federal court.
Working with the U.S. Attorney and the Orleans Parish District Attorney, police expanded their approach to a second focus area. In both cases, they met with considerable success, and the results are now being seen city-wide, Adler said. Between 2016 and 2018, homicides dropped by 16 percent, shootings decreased by 25 percent and armed robberies declined by 28 percent. New Orleans ended 2018 with its lowest murder toll since the early 70s.
This year, homicides have dropped another 31 percent, compared to the same period last year, and armed robberies have decreased by 29 percent.
An earlier version of this story was based on Adler’s prepared remarks, in which he touted a national decline in crime in advance of a report Tuesday from the DOJ Bureau of Justice Statistics indicating that violent crime as measured by the National Crime Victimization Survey was actually rising.