Hiring More Police not the Solution

By Jeff Thomas

New Orleans is really about the number 85.

First one: 85% of eligible African American men in NOLA do not own homes.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu sinking more money into funding for more police without seeking a complementarily and equally funded jobs program is the proverbial Band-Aid as cancer treatment.  Turn on the news, listen to the radio, open an app on your phone and for all you old schoolers out there, look at a newspaper, and stories of crime abound. Usually every story will allude to the lack of police in NOLA.  And the spin masters in City Hall have now convinced many that there is a culture of violence in New Orleans. (Insert smiley face here cause people don’t recognize the crying face)

“The only way to stop crime is to reverse this culture of violence in our city,” Landrieu says.

This claim – that a majority of black people wake up thinking about the best uses of violence –  is as unsubstantiated as President Trump’s claim of wiretapping by Obama.   But while all the citizens of New Orleans view crime is a major problem, they consistently reject the mayor’s attempts to dedicate more tax dollars for increased police.  We deserve a real solution.  For starters, most agree that the city must take drastic measures to halt the violence that plagues our city. Yet, for far too long the city has viewed crime from a single minded perspective. And after two terms in office, crime has increased dramatically under Landrieu. His focus on claiming some black criminal proclivity as the basis to hire more police has been disastrous.  The department is struggling from a lack of direction and shootings and killings are skyrocketing.   The citizens’ demand is for jobs and creation of a vibrant local economy.


Make no mistake.  Hiring more police will lead to more arrests. But the majority of proactive arrests new police make are nonviolent drug offenders. Arresting these people does not address the underlying problems.  Read my article here about how arresting people for nonviolent crime actually increases crime. If we really want to break from the crime problem/mass incarceration bankruptcy cycle, then we should address the real problems.  44% of African American men are unemployed in New Orleans.  Of those employed, only 59% earn more than minimum wage.  So fully 85% of black men in New Orleans need a good job.   

For people to support the NOPD, better utilization of current manpower is the first step.  We currently have enough police officers to handle the number of calls we get. But the current top heavy structure of the department, places an emphasis on people’s careers rather than responding to citizen calls.   Recent shifts of more officers from headquarters to answer calls has dramatically increased police response times. We still have an unacceptable 4 to 1 manager cop to street cop ratio.  We just need more boots out of the office and onto the street. 85% of the officers on the force should be shifted to the street now.

We have a jobs problem not a culture of violence

Texas, Alabama and Georgia have drastically reduced crime by focusing on drug addiction treatment and job creation rather than increased policing and more prisons. For these states, the savings are growing steadily and reaching over $85 million per state. Factor the reduced need for police, and probation and courtrooms and DA offices and indigent defenders and the savings these states will realize projects into the billions. This does not include the improvement in the local economy because of reduced crime.

The definition of insanity is to continue to do the same thing and expect different results.  Hiring more police and filling prisons will not reduce crime!  WE ARE THE LEADER ON THE ENTIRE EARTH IN PUTTING PEOPLE IN PRISON.  AND WE STILL HAVE THE HIGHEST CRIME AND MURDER RATES IN THE WORLD.  More police will not solve the problem.  We need a comprehensive jobs creation program.

With upcoming municipal elections, our citizens have to become more engaged.  Smart sounding slogans from familiar faces with well-known names can no longer be the deciding factor on whom we elect.  If New Orleans is to become the world class and great city we all want, then the elevation of the African American family is the greatest single element in the formula.  Strong African American families will have men and women working in good paying jobs that allow them to own nice homes in safe neighborhoods.  Only then will crime be reduced.  Murder will fall because people will be busy paying their mortgages online instead of hustling the mean New Orleans streets to cobble a living.

Simple solution:  Many senior citizens need work done to their homes. Invest in home renovation training for man in Orleans Parish.  Hire local New Orleans residents to renovate the property of seniors.  Provide regular maintenance like painting and roofing and grass cutting services to the 30,000 seniors in New Orleans who might need help. Jobs for men mean stronger families! Strong healthy families dramatically reduce crime.  Creating homeowners in New Orleans is a real solution to the New Orleans crime problem.

But the best 85 is: home owners commit crimes 85% less frequently than renters. 

Goals for New Orleans and LA

By Jeff Thomas

We all want a better New Orleans.  The biggest and single most critical factor preventing NOLA from being as great as it can be is the 46% unemployment of African American men.  This translates to crime, blight, and poor education outcomes.  Changing this one statistic will transform NOLA into a progressive city with a huge tax base that can make the city an urban model of economic prosperity for all people. Making these easy changes can start moving the city and state in the right direction.

New Orleans

  1. Reduce African American male unemployment by 20%. An immediate jobs program to coincide with the Sewerage and Water Board’s planned $150 million spending.  In fact, if more spending goes to African American male employment initially, then new bills will generate more income for the SWB. Also long term increased tax collection will result in more repair projects will result in a better water system for us all.
  2. Restructure and strengthen the DBE program to REQUIRE contractors to give 35% of all city contracts to African American companies from Orleans Parish. Also, as part of DBE program provide contractor training and increase African American licensed contractors by 15% EVERY QUARTER.
  3. Begin analysis to restructure tax collections in New Orleans. Should we really fund Audubon Park and the Aquarium of the Americas at the expense of seniors – who need more meals on wheels and children who need better parks and recreation?
  4. Restructure NOPD to put more boots on the ground and out from behind desks. Better deployment of experienced officers in the streets will put our most experienced and effective officers on the front lines.  Train and hire citizens to accomplish clerical work that many brass do on a daily basis.
  5. Pressure charter schools to hire more African American teachers who live in Orleans Parish. Charters can rebuild the middle class that was destroyed by Karina.  New Orleans needs the structure and tax base of families with teachers in the communities.

Goals for State

  1. Restructure New Orleans Hotel Motel tax and keep those tax dollars in New Orleans. Currently taxes from New Orleans fund projects across the state except for Orleans Parish.  Legislation should require municipalities to access all available funding their own local services first
  2. Reduce biggest prison industrial complex in America! Savings of over $3 billion annually are available if the entire structure is changed.  Instead of a focus on punishment, crime prevention through jobs, property ownership and a raised statewide minimum wage will improve the quality of life for us all!
  3. Scour commissions and boards in every parish that have taxpayer funded budgets and reinvest any budget excesses into economic development projects in those parishes
  4. Raise minimum wage or allow municipalities to raise their minimum wage.
  5. Make BDE a requirement and not a goal in all state projects

Options for Replacing the Confederate Statues

Erect Statues for Morial, L’Overture, Deslonde, and Pinchback

By Jeff Thomas

Ernest “Dutch” Morial was the first African American mayor in the city of New Orleans.  His place in New Orleans political history is well documented, but since he died nearly 30 years ago a quick recap of his numerous first accomplishments include being the first African American to graduate from LSU law school and  the first to serve as juvenile judge and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Replace Robert E. Lee with Dutch Morial.

Toussaint Loverture led the most successful and famous slave revolt in history.  A veteran and skilled soldier, led an army of slaves and free blacks like himself and defeated both French and British forces and eventually became ruler of the entire island of Hispaniola.  General Loverture’s great skills as a fighter eventually enabled Haiti to become the first black republic in the Western hemisphere and led to France’s decision to sell Louisiana to the United States.

Replace PGT Beauregard statue with Toussaint Loverture

Charles Deslonde led the largest slave revolt in American history in 1811.  Seeing the horrors of sugar cane farming, this heroic freedom fighter planned and executed the largest slave revolt in American history. Himself a mulatto and a transplant from Haiti, Deslonde carefully planned, recruited African warriors and attempted a Haitian style revolt in 1811 along the German coast.  Hoping to make it to New Orleans and join with others in Congo Square, Deslonde’s attempt was unsuccessful.  Armed with only a few guns and hand tools, whites with guns squelched the revolt and brutally killed and beheaded around 100 of the 500 members of the revolt.

Replace the Liberty monument with a statue honoring Charles Deslonde

Starting in 1892 for 6 weeks, P.B. S. Pinchback served as the first and only African American governor in the state of Louisiana.  Pinchback was also the first African American elected to Congress in Louisiana.  In 1880, Pinchback also sponsored and passed legislation which created Southern University, originally located in NOLA.  Pinchback was a founding member of the Comité des Citoyens formed to fight for the civil rights of African Americans.  This group launched the landmark New Orleans case Plessy v Ferguson, which created the longstanding separate but equal doctrine that dominated the American landscape for 68 years.

Replace Jefferson Davis Statue with a statue honoring P.B.S. Pinchback

Truth About City Spending

New Orleans spends only 3% of its $615 million dollar budget on children and families, and only 1% of its budget on job development, while it spends 65% of the budget on jails, cops, and reactive programs. Then out of nowhere it announces an additional $40 million dollars to spend on a so-called “city wide safety plan” that actually consist of surveillance, policing, and beautification of the French Quarter. None of this plan is proven to lower crime, and certainly not to PREVENT violence/crime. This matters, because this is all TAX payer money. This money should be invested into youth job opportunities, and proactive community based programs that PREVENT crime. Let’s demand that resources be allocated as an investment in our youth. #JobsNOTJailsNOLA #PeoplesAssemblyNOLA Music and Culture Coalition of New Orleans Ubuntu Village NOLA Take ‘Em Down NOLA