August 11, 2007

Mayor Nagin Has Taken the Positive Pledge, Too

As I make an effort to be positive, I want to surround myself with people also trying to stay positive. I attended the Crime Prevention Roundtable (pdf) at Gallier Hall today, and I am glad to see that Mayor Nagin also wants to stay positive:
The media keeps beating on everything that happens that’s wrong. If we have a sensational event as it relates to criminal activity, that’s all you here about over and over and over again. And it’s rare that we have any balance to this. So this is our opportunity for us to provide some balance.

Most intelligent people out in our community are looking for that balance. Some folk is just negative and that’s just the way they going to be. And there’s nothing we can do about that. But for the majority of our citizens, it’s incumbent upon us to give you the truth and to give you the facts so you can really understand what’s going on.

And to my friends who keep trying to portray the city in its worst light: Stop. Even when they talk about murders and violent crimes, they link it up to other parishes around this area to make it seem like New Orleans is totally out of control.

Why are you doing that? I don’t know. But it would be nice if you would stop.
That’s my transcript and my emphasis.

Nagin also provided an accountability moment that BSJD or any other blogger might want to fact check when he commented:
So many of the initiatives that we talked about many months ago, six, twelve months ago, we have put in place. If you go back and check the record, just about everything we told the public we would do, we’re either doing or have done. And it’s starting to make some impact in our city.
He was, of course, referring to crime initiatives, of which here are the highlights:
Increased pay for police.
A record breaking 71 recruits in the latest class.
New police cars.
“Crime cameras up in most areas of the city.”
In-car cameras.
“…latest and greatest in technology to the NOPD.”
$7 million from state to NOPD.
Crime walks.
Increased checkpoints.
Federal partnerships.
Focus on kids, like the Cops for Kids Program.
I am not sure where the crime cameras stand. I am also not sure if they are “up in most areas of the city.” That’s one for Dambala.

Mayor Nagin also took the positive route on population figures, which is nothing new:
We as a community have to unite. We are 300,000 strong in this recovery and the numbers are growing everyday.
The Greater New Orleans Community Data Center estimated the New Orleans population at 300,000 using mail delivery numbers. But Greg Rigamer set the population at 274,000. Nagin has said in the past that Rigamer’s number does not include migrant workers.

Nagin also shed some light on maybe why he’s only “somewhat” worried about the New Orleans brand when it comes to the murder rate:
I know one murder is way too many. We are going to continue to try to bring this city to a zero point. But, just to give you an indication of the trends, this past July – which July historically has been our most violent month as relates to crime – this past July, we recorded 14 murders. Four of those murders were carryovers from somebody being shot in a previous month. Compare that to one year earlier, and there were 23 murders.

So, as you can see, we are starting to see some trends. And we’re not happy with it. But we’re starting to see some trends that suggest things that we put in place are starting to have some impact.
July had the second lowest number of murders of any month this year. February saw 13 murders by my count, but had three less days than July. So, yes, that is positive.

One month earlier in June, however, there were 19 murders by my count, the most of any month. And we are averaging a murder every other day for 2007 even with the lower total in July.

The fact that the population is going up but more people are not being murdered is a good thing. That could mean that our violent crime prevention initiatives are working. Or it could mean that the new population isn’t moving to areas where they might be killed.

I heard a lot of good things at the Crime Prevention Roundtable. If I have time, I will post more transcripts and good things.

And heed the Mayor’s words. Stop the negativity!

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