Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

New Orleans Park Shooting Rattles City Enjoying Record-Low Homicides

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

New Orleans Park Shooting Rattles City Enjoying Record-Low Homicides

Article excerpt

A gun battle at a New Orleans block party over the weekend has marred what could be another year of record-low homicides in the city.

No one was killed in the shooting - 16 people were wounded - when the two groups opened fire on each other in a crowd of hundreds gathered in a park for a block party and music video shoot. New Orleans police have responded quickly using many of the same strategies they have employed to oversee almost four consecutive years of a decline in murders in the city.

There were 150 murders in New Orleans in 2014, the lowest number since 1971, and that was the third consecutive year that murders declined in the city. They mayor's office credited its "NOLA FOR LIFE" strategy when announcing the 2014 numbers in January. The strategy aims to reduce homicides through a multi-pronged approach, including hot-spot and community policing, as well as violence prevention and economic development programs.

The city has pursued the same strategy this year, and appears on pace to come close to matching the homicide totals of 2014. There have been 138 murders in the city this year, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, and many of the strategies that appear to have helped lower the city's murder rate were on display this weekend in the wake of the Sunday's shooting.

Police were only about a block away from the scene at Bunny Friend Playground as they had been helping with a parade, said New Orleans police chief Michael Harrison.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu called on witnesses to come forward and provide police information, saying the shooting is "just not something you can tolerate in the city."

Catching the shooters, he added, "is going to require the people who were in this park to basically say they've had enough and they're not going to put themselves in harm's way and give us information so that the police can do their job. …

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