New Orleans Police say a different approach at battling gang violence is paying off.
"Over the last couple years, we've done a tremendous amount of work holding gang members accountable for their crimes in the city of New Orleans," said Police Chief Ronal Serpas.
Serpas says since forming the Multi-Agency Gang Unit in 2012, he's seen more than 80 indictments and eight gangs dismantled.
"There is no question in my mind that in the last 18 to 24 months they see a different police department, a different prosecution package," said Serpas.
He credits teamwork. Prosecutors, local, state, and federal law enforcement have been working together and sharing information. Serpas says even the gang members are valuable tools.
"They are also now seeing that their friends, people who they think are their friends are saying I'm not taking the L-train, a life sentence," said Serpas. "I'm going to find a way to get that off me and onto someone else."
Tulane University criminologist Dr. Peter Scharf says it all starts with police being in the know.
"The probability of deterrence, [gang members] getting caught through these information sources, they're going to be a lot more conversational," said Scharf. "A lot of these interrogation require an information starting point."
The NOPD says the murder rate is down this year over last year, and in 2013, the rate was 20 percent lower than 2012.
But those numbers don't mean much to activist Al Mims with the Victims and Citizens Against Crime. Mims says not everything is gang related, and the violence in still there.
"We can do better," said Mims. "They say less people are dying, but they're still getting shot."
And that is something NOPD says they're constantly striving for.
"We want a city of peace, a city of safety. We're really beginning to see a city that says 'that's enough' when something happens," Serpas said.
Tuesday, September 2 2014 5:28 PM EDT2014-09-02 21:28:36 GMT
The search is over for the missing Mississippi 17-year-old at the center of the weekend Amber Alert. Katelyn Beard's body was found Tuesday before noon, off of Darden road, near the scene of a morningMore >>
The coroner said her body had been dumped for at least two days, and she was shot in the head.More >>
Tuesday, September 2 2014 10:18 PM EDT2014-09-03 02:18:00 GMT
The Mississippi Highway Patrol has issued an Amber Alert for 17-year-old Katelyn Beard. She was abducted Saturday morning from between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. from 4244 Lynda Street in Jackson. BeardMore >>
Katelyn Beard's body was found during a search by local law enforcement Tuesday morning. More >>
Thursday, August 28 2014 9:33 AM EDT2014-08-28 13:33:06 GMT
SPARTANBURG COUNT, SC (WYFF) - Fifteen children living in a double-wide trailer were put into protective custody and seven adults were arrested, according to the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office. DeputiesMore >>
Fifteen children living in a double-wide trailer were put into protective custody and seven adults were arrested, according to the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office.More >>
Tuesday, September 2 2014 10:17 PM EDT2014-09-03 02:17:29 GMT
Tracy Lynn Garner is being sentenced, Tuesday, in connection to illicit silicone buttocks injections that led to an Atlanta woman's death. Garner was convicted Friday evening after the jury deliberatedMore >>
Garner was convicted Friday evening after the jury deliberated for about five hours.More >>
Tuesday, September 2 2014 10:07 AM EDT2014-09-02 14:07:52 GMT
Labor Day weekend has a special significance for alligator hunters in Mississippi. A few days into the start of this year's hunting season, a record-setting 756-pound gator was caught by Robert MahaffeyMore >>
Labor Day weekend has a special significance for alligator hunters in Mississippi. A few days into the start of this year's hunting season, a record-setting 756-pound gator was caught by Robert Mahaffey of Brandon in the first weekend of the season.More >>
Tuesday, September 2 2014 7:39 PM EDT2014-09-02 23:39:10 GMT
(WMC) – Memphis police are the scene of a shooting where a woman was possibly shot in the head. This happened in the 900 block of East Raines Road, near Elvis Presley Boulevard on Tuesday morning. ThisMore >>
A Memphis mother of two was shot and killed by her estranged husband outside a Whitehaven day care center Tuesday morning. More >>
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