Thursday, February 01, 2007

Surge....A NOLA escalation strategy

Please check out NolaChick's site and her post on the recent murder of her former co-worker, Keedy.

Right now the murder rate for 2007 is at 17.

The march made me as proud as I've ever felt to be a New Orleanian, but something has been gnawing at me since. Bart told the Mayor we will be watching you. Good...but if the city fails to show progress... at what point do we escalate?

It's a common occurrence in New Orleans....we get pissed off, we demand better....and nothing happens. I've watched this pattern for three years in our public school system.

I would propose that if we are going to hold Nagin and Riley accountable on their efforts to curtail crime in this city, we should set markers. If they fail to meet those markers....we march again and demand to know why progress wasn't made.

One month into 2007, the number is @ 17. That rate would put us at 204 murders by year's end, but I would bet that the summer months will show a serious increase.

If we are truly going to hold them accountable...I think we need to set the bar. Ideally, not a single murder is acceptable. But in reality I would like to set a standard for what we as a community consider progress. I think we should quantify this administration's performance....perhaps quarterly (every 3 months). This mayor originally ran on the platform of being a business man, he should understand that businesses are held accountable by their quarterly reports...they have projections and goals to meet.

Quantifying human life sounds morbid, but I don't know of any other way to judge this administration's performance.

So I would ask the question....what is an acceptable number of murders in a three month period which would reflect progress on the part of this administration? Or six months? Do we gauge it from previous year's murder rates? It's a tough question, but it would provide a quantifiable method of accountability. Nagin can laud all the new measures he's taking to curtail the problem, but the results are what he should be judged by. If he doesn't meet the goals...we march again...and again...until we see results.

By June....what will be an acceptable number that shows true progress?


Banzai Bill said...

Let's see--a city with comparable size (250,000 pop.), with comparable histories (French, Spanish), with comparable levels of poverty (nothing compares to New Orleans, but....) and comparable levels of segregation.... Let's try.... Mobile, Alabama.

OK, the latest data I have is 2004, and the number of murders for that year was....


That, to me, is the benchmark number. Anything over that must be explained.

TravelingMermaid said...

I totally agree with you. The march was awesome but, even at the time, I thought this cannot be the end of it. If it takes a once a week march, then that is what we should do.
As for what is "acceptable" -- of course no amount of murder is acceptable, but I think looking at the rates of other cities of similar size would be a start.

Anonymous said...

He gets only 3 months from the date of the march.

Then what? Do we march again? Do we hire somebody to just whack his ass? What can we do? I feel so friggin' helpless.

Seriously, what. Can. We. Do?

Jason Brad Berry said...

Bill....35 on the year? I think that's setting the bar too high. I would actually accept 35 every three months as significant progress.

TM...we should come up with a number.

Ashley...take heart. When that march went down, it was a public relations nightmare for our tourism industry. That pressure comes right down on the shoulders of our mayor. If we continue to generate that kind of pressure, we will get results. The problem with this city is that their strategy is to cover everything up and pretend like it doesn't exist. That march was clear statement to the country that we have a problem. If we keep up the pressure, we will force our public officials to take action.

Believe me when I tell you we can effect change.

TravelingMermaid said...

OK - I'm no researcher but I did a quick google & came up with this:

I used a population of 155K to search for cities of equivelent population. The murder statistics are FY 2004:

Chattanooga - 23
Springfield, Il - 5
Pomona, CA - 21
Aurora, Il - 13

for an average of 15.5.

I thought I was seeing things, but no. I checked twice.

Like I said - quick search.

LatinTeacher said...

I think 35 a quarter is too much. As you said, anything is too much. I have a lot things to bring up in this conversation. 1) The pressure needs to be put on the mayor (to put pressure on) 2) The Police Superintendent and 3) the DA and criminal justice system (including the sheriff). Many people cite the Pennington years as a high point in the reduction of violent crime in New Orleans. If I remember correctly, however, much of what he did was actually a numbers game. He would classify certain crimes as others, not release details on unsolved murders, etc. This is the kind of b.s. that has to stop. Release the numbers. Of course, much of this has to do with socio-economics, education, and poverty. So not only does Nagin need to be held accountable, but those in charge of housing and schools and policing need to be held accountable. Nagin is an easy target. But he's not the only cowboy. Go get 'em!

mominem said...

Before going off comparing incomparable situations, The standard for these kinds of comparisons are MSAs, (Metropolitan Statistical Areas).

The MSAs mentioned had a 2005 estimated population of;

Mobile 564,013
Chattanooga 479,435
Springfield Il. 205,527
Pomona Ca. is not its own MSA
Aurora Il. is not its own MSA

The New Orleans MSA has a probable population of at least 1,100,000

A valid comparison would be a MSA with comparable levels of poverty and population.

An interesting project would be to find a statistical twin and track murders.

Anonymous said...

Since the March our neighborhood has been asking Warren Riley for a Neighborhood Walk thru.

He gave us an affirmative but has set no date. In addition someone is dumping stolen and flooded cars here and we are getting the run around in terms of who is responsible.

I agree that we need to create some kind of benchmarks. One of those would be a Police Chief who responds.

BTW where is his office these days??

Jason Brad Berry said...

LT - yeah you right on Pennington. They were pulling an Arthur Anderson on the numbers.

Mominem - Ok cool....i don't understand that completely but how do we translate tracking other MSA's into a quantifiable goal for this administration...also the murder rate that we are looking at is Orleans Parish, not the whole MSA of our area.

I think 35 is too tough of a standard for them to meet. I'm not expecting miracles, I'm just looking for real progress.

I think 50-75 murders on the year would be a true mark of progress. The moment we top that number....we march again. That's just my two cents. I just want the threat hanging over their heads and I want them to know that they have performance standards that have been set by this community. We can issue a fucking decree and nail it on the wall of city hall if need be....send out press releases to AP, CNN, etc......This is what we expect...if you don't meet this goal, we will march again and in larger numbers. I think the national press will pick that up in a heartbeat as it's an ongoing story they can follow.

We need to turn the heat up on these guys...and thats gonna take organization and action. We've already proven we can do that, now it's a matter of perserverance and will.

I propose 75 as an annual goal.... Bill says 35. Let's all weigh in and come up with a number. Then we'll all post that number and try to get our fellow to push the issue.

Jason Brad Berry said...

fellow bloggers to push the issue...sorry

mominem said...

I've checked briefly into MSA's of comparable size and couldn't immediately identify a "twin". It seems to me the best match is possibly Passaic, NJ.

Other than that a number of equalizing calculations need to be done. These can be done from FBI and census data, but it will require someone skilled in statistical analysis. Something I haven't engaged in since college some thirty years ago.

Of course it is easy to cherry pick comparisons, be subject to criticism and get dismissed by any one who knows something. The challenge is to make someone who knows something to think twice.

Anonymous said...

This isn't based on any technical or scientific info, but I think 60/yr. That's 5 murders per month. To start.

Just an observation...poor people aren't all criminals. I realize poverty stricken neighborhoods have a higher crime rate but it's perpetrated by a core gang, group, whatever. The honest poor people who live there are the ones who really suffer the most.

I don't really think there is a valid comparison possible. It gets down to what each community is willing to accept.

Anonymous said...

Great discussion. If and when another march is organized it could be done on a weekend and with plenty more advance planning. Presumably more people could turn out that way. The Jan. 11 march was huge but thrown together in literally a few days. I think this discussion is right on the money regarding strategy. However advance planning gives the pols time to spin and try to divide us. Building a big coalition will be key. Make sure to start building multiracial coalitions now. Reach out across those race and class lines or this movement will be derailed.

Anonymous said...

The March was never meant to be the end-all. It was a wake-up call to the City.

As for a benchmark on murders? Even 1 person killed is too much. How about arrests and convictions, 'eh?

I'm taking my ques from my past in S.F. with the Queer community and how we fought back against killings and bashings. It took marches, many "Take Back the Night" Marches... took organizing amongst the locals to protect folks.

This is what we must do here. It is OUR city, not the thug's or the Guv'mit's. We live here, and the place is ours.

I would suggest that we create an Org that follows the trends in crime here that can stand up and demand answers from OUR employees. (Yes No-See-Um Ray... you work FOR ME.)

I have the model- Community United Against Violence.

Can't do this alone. We must tie this type of action into the Neighborhood Orgs... go and speak to children in the schools... show up at churches to speak truth about the killings, watch our Police force, and demand control of the DA's Office.

It can be done. It MUST BE DONE!

Jason Brad Berry said...

I think this I'm seeing the light here and this whole strategy is starting to crystallize. Let's take TM's number .....60 (i'm not suggesting that's the final number...just saying theorhetical.) We get flyers and website set up with a public signature list for anyone who want's to support it, and pre-commit to future march. We call it the "60" campaign or 50 or whatever...(maybe a tombstone with LX..roman num. on it as a logo) The moment our muder rate tops or hits that number...we march en masse and invite every damn non-profit/ activist org. in the nation to join us...after all this whole thing is at it's root a peace movement.

I think the national Press will pick up on this pretty quick as it's a progressive story.

If you guys think this is a good idea....let's get on it. Although someone has to be a organizational skills are pathetic. Bart and Karen have already proven their talent as public speakers...If you two are willing we could drive possible media interviews through you guys, but Bart is right, we need to build a multi-racial coalition and maybe we should think about that as to who speaks to press.

What do you guys think? Maybe we should move this discussion over to Rising Tide Blog....too.

Jason Brad Berry said...

OH yeah....on the website we will list the names of everyone murdered in the city.

We should humanize this as much as possible....maybe even have people comment on the victims and who they were...I can even get video interviews from friends and family.

TravelingMermaid said...

Yes, HUMANIZE IT. I think that is key. People get bored with facts and numbers (incl me) but a face, a name, a story....that's what people remember.

Also - I think we should explore including the guys at Signal 26 -- I've been talking with the blogger and he's all gung-ho with the community involvement.

Jason Brad Berry said...

TM - yes, yes humanize.

who is Signal 26??

Anonymous said...

Signal 26 is a cop at NOPD who wants to remain anonymous. My husband spoke with a policeman friend of his who confirmed this. Apparently, given some of what he's written, there could be reprisals, so he remains virtually anonymous, although I got the feeling that SOME of the cops do know who he is. Loki is trying to contact him to do a "virtual interview" with him. I'm wondering if we could get him to meet with a few of us in person, but don't know if he'd trust us to keep his identity quiet.

Anonymous said...

I could help get this thing running, especially since I'm very active and connected in the Marigny and the Quarter.

I also have good contacts with the HRC in City Hall and have helped with a similar action many years ago. I just need to get back in contact with some old friends for concepts since the situation here is different in many ways from what we had to tackle.


Anonymous said...

Everything I have heard is good but I think what first needs to happen is perhaps we all need to get together and decide how we can proceed. Physically together.

Since we are all obviously good at blogging, we could put our the results of our efforts towards a blog that we could all contribute to and would be the display of our goals and progress towards making the city and region into what we dream it can be.

I have found has been an excellent way to keep up. Though, it seems to lack a human spirit. Perhaps that's what we can do.

Just some ideas.

bubblebut said...

Krewe du Vieux was right on when they titled their parade, "Habitat for Insanity"

I think the only way to fix the problem is a personal change with the people committing the crime. That will be a tuff nut for violence is glorified in so much of our culture. Fuck fixing terror, lets have ourselves a war!

And I think the main issue and cause is drugs. The "War on Drugs" has virtually given birth to a market for violence. We should have learned our lessons from prohibition, drug addiction is a disorder not a crime.

For those that rob and murder because it's easier than getting a job, which I think is few and far between, will only be stopped with more and better equipped police officers. $$$ NOLA just doesn't have it.

Jason Brad Berry said...

with all due respect....there are better answers than law enforcement escalation, Rob.

I think we just have to take responsibilty for this and figure it out as a community. And I believe we can do that.

bubblebut said...

You don't need to give me due respect. I'm a big boy, I can take any criticism you through at me. Just consider me a bumbling brain stormer from the dark side.

Throwing more police at the problem is not like throwing more soldiers in Iraq, though your right if that's the only thing we're capable of doing we might as well just bend over and enjoy the party.

It's the root of the cause we must concern ourselves with, not the branches. More Christian soldiers and secular oil companies, encourages anti western sentiment and gives birth to terroists. The answer to Iraq is changing the Iraqi from being a moronic Muslim into a rational person by being a rational rule model and changing our obsession with their oil fields. We consume the most oil so we could have an huge effect on the market if we pulled together as a nation, to fight the real war.

Here the answer is legalizing drugs which would eliminate a huge percentage of the black market. If a junky can get his meth, crack or white horse from a government distributor instead of walking into a house with a hopped up dealer packin' a glock, I bet they would do it. I've done drugs and known people on drugs, typically drugs themself do not cause violence, there black market sale does. And if the junkies went to a legal place to buy there fix we could keep track of their usage, their face and make predictions when the person was at risk of going over the edge.

As far as the sucka' who goes out an pops a cap in grannies back because he would rather steel the 60 bucks in her pocket book instead of work 8 hours, your dream of a flowery community effort will not eradicate that. Not unless you start requiring all citizens to carry tazers. The reason I think that more and better police would help is because if we make it more difficult for the sucka' to go a lottin' that would reduce the incentive of making a living committing crime.

gentillygirl - "It is OUR city, not the thug's or the Guv'mit's."

It's not our city until only residents are allowed to vote. I just don't see how a peace march is going to effect the cause of the crime. I envision it as only feeding the ego of the gansta', Look boys we got em scared, lock and load.

Sorry for being a pessimist. Just keepin' it real. Word.

jeffrey said...

Although I conceptually like the idea of finding a comparable population for a statistical standard, I don't think you'll find anything suitable. Not only would you need a comparable pop size with similar demographics (good luck) but also a place with similar folkways and sociological patterns. (good luck with that as well) Oh and you'll need to find a city whose size and commercial prominence has declined from a position of incomparable regional leadership to.. well.. to Mobile Alabama.. in the space of 50-70 years. One place that has suffered a similarly rapid economic dismantling that comes to mind is Detroit. That might be a good place to start... but even then it isn't the best comparison for other reasons. In other words.. I'll get back to you.

TravelingMermaid said...

I strongly agree with Varg. We need a blog for this effort. A forum for exchanging info and organizing. Emails are a pain in the butt and "secret" other emails between a few happens, leaving others going "what"? I'm for a forum that is open and inclusive. No behind the scenes shit.

Since Dambala has alot on his plate right now, I suggest someone else create the blog. I'm not particularly tech savvy but I would be happy to help that person.

BTW - sorry if I offend anyone - I prefer directness.

LAW70 said...

Okay...I am officially pissed!! I need to find your beloved mayor's home in Dallas. Take some nice pictures and put it along side a picture(s) of homes in N.O. Then create a colorful billboard with a very important question or comment for Nagin. It would probably go something like this:

"Did you forget where you came from, Nagin?" OR "Nagin - BAD for New Orleans, but GOOD for public show."

Anonymous said...

Would yall like to blog on NolaAgainstCrime ?? We can set that up for you.