September 8, 2007

August’s Murders

I have been busy lately with a new job. Since I focus a lot on crime and murders with this blog, I can’t let August pass without comment.

August was the deadliest month in New Orleans this year with 26 murders.

What stands out looking at the map is the ten murders in New Orleans East, six of them in the Village de l’Est neighborhood, five on the same street. Of those, at least five were home invasions or robberies, possibly seven:
On Aug. 4, Pablo Mejia Jr., 29, was fatally shot while working at a house in the 5200 block of Sandhurst Drive. In that case, three gunmen approached the house and demanded money from Mejia and a co-worker.

Julio Benitez-Cruz, 42, of El Salvador, was killed on Aug. 22 inside a house in the 4800 block of Nighthart Street. Robbers invaded the home and shot Benitez-Cruz and two other men.

Seven people were shot -- three fatally -- in a robbery on Aug. 24 in the 4800 block of Savoie Court. On the same cul-de-sac two weeks before, a gunman fatally shot Anjelique Vu, 35, and Luong Nguyen, 38. Police have declined to say whether that double murder was a robbery attempt.
At one point in August, there were 25 murders in 25 days – 26 in 25 days if you count the August 24 victim who died in September, which I do.

There were those murders that some may have seen coming, and those that no one could have seen coming.

Three people shot, two died after a basketball game in Treme.

A 15-year-old shot on his porch. A 48-year-old shot in one of the home invasions.

Five people killed were under 20 years old.

I just want people to remember what our leaders were saying at the beginning of August:
MAYOR NAGIN: 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.
CHIEF RILEY: “And one thing that we have made some progress in, but we still certainly have a long way to go, is that you will see that our murder rate has dropped by 8.75%.”
At the beginning of August, they thought we were seeing some trends and making some progress.

I am running out of things to say. I keep writing the same thing about murders over and over again. There are just too many. Too many. Two more in September. 140 in 2007.

My brain fails me and my keyboard won’t write for me…


charlotte said...

I understand. How much disgust and horror can we feel with each murder without, finally, beginning to blank it out? For our own mental health.

I think that's what they're depending on. And I don't mean the murderers.

Sophmom said...

It really is just so sad. Pablo Mejia's story alone is a heartbreak. Thank you for keeping these stories out there. I hope your new job has had a fine beginning.

judyb said...

I appreciate your work in keeping the list updated. The madness is mind numbing and we don't know when it will stop. Step back from it if it becomes burdensome.

barbawit said...

I would not have known that this was the deadliest month this year if you had not pointed it out. I read the paper and watch the news but for some reason the numbers are not sinking in anymore. I guess I have allowed myself to become numb over the situation.

aa said...