Wednesday, 11 January 2017 13:51
AG Landry's LBI vs. Landrieu's New Orleans crime bath, no match
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landryIt doesn’t have the flashiest name, nor can it contribute much to crime reduction. But as long as governance of New Orleans does not address seriously the causes and disincentives to committing crime in the city, the revamped and renamed Louisiana Bureau of Investigation under the jurisdiction of Republican Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry will prove helpful in keeping down the Crescent City’s rampant lawlessness – despite its political leadership.

Landry recently has expanded activity of the unit, which has in the past served as an investigative unit for his office, by sending it into New Orleans. There, in a few months it has racked up relatively small numbers of arrests and prompted complaints from the powers that be in the city, principally Democrat Mayor Mitch Landrieu and his police chief Michael Harrison.

Harrison actually wrote a note to Landry alleging that the state’s top justice official did not have the authority to conduct policing activities in New Orleans because of its special act home rule charter. Let’s hope Harrison knows law enforcement better than he knows his state’s Constitution, for while Art. VI Sec. 5 gives such governments powers not inconsistent with law and the Constitution, in Art. VI Sec. 6 it places the only limitation on the state’s powers relevant to a charter, that no law affect powers under the charter or functions and organization of government related to that. Landry’s office or any state agency with law enforcement power has the unfettered right to operate in New Orleans as it wishes.

That also moots other complaints that the LBI presence causes problems in that it does not have to follow a poorly-formulated consent decree the city negotiated with the federal government a few years ago, as the decree does not cover outside agency actions. Police union officials confirm that the decree is at least partly to blame for a rise in crime in the city.

And New Orleans needs all the help it can get. Among cities with populations between a quarter and a half million, it has the second most per capita murders and the twelfth most violent crimes per capita, according to the latest released statistics. These results have little to do with demographics and everything to do with a political culture too tolerant of misbehavior and too little achievement-oriented. For example, El Paso, about twice as large as New Orleans, boasts a population of fewer than 15 percent white and a per capita income of less than $15,000 annually. By contrast, New Orleans has about a 30 percent white population and a per capita income almost twice as much, yet its violent crime rate is 150 percent higher than in El Paso – which abuts against one of the most dangerous, drug trafficking areas in the world just across the Rio Grande – and its murder rate is ten times higher than El Paso’s.

You’d think the likes of Landrieu would display some gratitude for any help, but he won’t, because the LBI presence directly indicts his liberal, soft-on-crime leadership. Thus, he hints it’s all about self-promotion for Landry, a party line joined in by liberal media sycophants unhappy that the conservative Landry can draw favorable publicity.

But if that’s what this is all about – Landry finding ways to raise his political profile favorably – then New Orleans sure could use a lot more of that from him or anyone else when that can eat into the city’s deplorable crime conditions. The city would be a lot better off if the irresponsible Landrieu would just shut his mouth and get on with reversing his pattern of failure on this issue by any means possible.

Jeffrey Sadow

Jeffrey Sadow is an associate professor of political science at Louisiana State University in Shreveport.   He writes a daily conservative blog called Between The Lines

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