Despite its many problems existing both before and since Hurricane Katrina, the citizens surveyed have a glowing feeling about the city.
Perhaps surprisingly, this optimistic tone extends to the criminal justice system which has been featured nationally at times with the rap of being the “Murder Capitol of the World” and with daily violent crimes, a given.
In a recent google Hangout interview, I discussed the “crime” issue with Professor Edward Chervenak of UNO asking him about the disconnect between the crime dominance and threats in the community and the strong numbers reported in the survey.
Here are some rough notes of the major points from the interview (watch the video for accuracy purposes):
6 out of ten said that crime is the biggest problem for the city but with murder rates going down the residents believe crime is not increasing.
The citizens are fairly positive about the District Attorney and Police Chief and believe the Mayor has a broad-base anti-crime strategy, but they are critical of the Criminal Courts, particularly the Judges.
The basis of the criticism towards the Judges is low bonds, pardons and other perceived-soft-on-crime factors.
This generally negative feeling towards the judges could have an influence on their re-elections;
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s favorables are down a few points but he is still high at 65 percent. A diminishment is generally expected due to histories of conflicts.
Police Chief Ronal Serpas has favorable at 56% with some racial polarization. District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro has more racial polarization compared to last year but his numbers are also still strong.
Tomorrow: Marlin Gusman and the Criminal Sheriff Election