Mitch Landrieu talks about fighting violent crime and funding two federal consent decrees
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu says the city is growing in population, its home values are rising and there's an influx of start-up businesses.
But during his annual State of the City address Tuesday he also discussed the city's biggest challenge, reducing violent crime.
"There is no challenge more urgent and important than murder and violent crime. Last year, 193 people, our fellow citizens were murdered in this city," he said.
"Since 1979, 34 years ago, on average every year 241 young African-American men have been killed on the streets of New Orleans every year; on average 241 precious lives lost in the relentless drumbeat of death," Landrieu said.
The Mayor told an audience at the Treme Center he believes the city has "made progress" in fighting crime.
"Murder is down over 25 percent compared to this time in 2011, down nearly 15 percent from this time last year. But this is not good enough and remember- this problem won't be solved overnight."
Landrieu says he believes the answer is his NOLA FOR LIFE Program, "because we will end the cycle of violence, and change the culture of death in New Orleans to a culture of life."
The program aims to reduce gun violence, invest in crime prevention, create jobs, rebuild neighborhoods and improve the NOPD.
He also spoke about the efforts of local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to crack down on gangs in the city and he had a warning for gang members who are involved in criminal activity.
"This is our message to them- stop the shooting, or else we are coming for you... and for all your friends."
"We're seeing results," Landrieu said. "Just in the last few weeks, in the 7th Ward, 5 members of the MMG Gang were taken off the streets. And there is more to come."
Landrieu also spoke optimistically about finding ways to fund federal consent decrees to reform both the NOPD and the Orleans Parish Prison.
"I have faith that we can find a solution to the police and sheriff consent decrees. After all, this is what we do down here in New Orleans- we find a way or make one," he said.