NOLA Coalition 2023 End-of-Year Statement

Now at 570 members, diverse civic group recognizes progress of the year in public safety and investment in the youth of New Orleans

From its founding in the summer of 2022, the NOLA Coalition has grown to be one of the largest and most diverse civic-action groups in New Orleans history.  Now with 570 nonprofit and business organization members, the NOLA Coalition is united by a shared mission:  harness our collective resources to create a safer and more prosperous New Orleans for all residents.  The NOLA Coalition has a dual platform of action:  near-term actions to reduce violence, paired with investment in youth services to drive generational change.


 
As 2023 ends and 2024 begins, the NOLA Coalition finds reason for optimism.  Homicides are down 25% versus 2022, and shootings are down by a similar percentage.  Carjackings are down 46%, and armed robbery 34%. 
 
Further, recruitment and retention at NOPD appears to be improving, particularly with regard to attrition, which has dropped below 10%.  While it will take years to rebuild the NOPD officer ranks, the process has begun.
 
Moreover, the community has responded to the call to invest in our children’s future, with the NOLA Coalition raising nearly $7.5M to-date towards its $15M 3-year goal of investment in youth services.
 
That said, violence is still significantly higher than in 2019, with homicides 80%+ greater, and shootings and carjackings 40%+ above (armed robberies are 16% down; good news).  Most tragically, more children were murdered in New Orleans in 2023 – 27 – than in any year in at least a decade. We are making progress, but clearly have a long way to go to reach the level of safety our residents, and especially our children, deserve.
 
The NOLA Coalition applauds the effort of the men and women of the NOPD who have led this progress, along with the work of other criminal justice stakeholders and elected leaders. 
 
Specific to the NOLA Coalition, we are proud of the important contributions the group has made in 2023, including:
 
Platform 1 – Public Safety

  • Successful advocacy for a national search for the new NOPD Superintendent
  • Concomitant advocacy for a significant increase in pay for the NOPD Superintendent, to a nationally competitive rate
  • Working with the Mayor and City Council, support for millions invested in additional pay, bonuses, and retention measures for officers
  • Successful advocacy for the use of constitutional technology – most recently police drones to protect both officers and citizens
  • Additional support for new equipment for NOPD, including vehicles, safety equipment, and technology
  • Continued support of a $30M criminal justice IT overhaul and integration
  • Continued support of civilianization measures, like On Scene Services, which reduce the need for commissioned officers to attend non-injury traffic accidents
  • Regular publication of accountability dashboards, including monthly recruiting & retention numbers

“The NOLA Coalition represents our community in action,” says founding member Greg Rusovich.  “We are proud of the critical role which our broad-based coalition played in securing more funding for NOPD officers, wider use of crime fighting technologies, additional prosecutors for the DA’s office, and significant resources for our youth. We are all working together to make New Orleans a safer place to live, work and raise a family. We will persist in our relentless effort to ensure public safety for our beloved city.”

Platform 2 – Investment in Youth Services
Nearly $7.5M has been raised for investment in youth services by the NOLA Coalition.  These funds have either been directly raised, or raised with direct assistance from the NOLA Coalition (e.g., help writing funding applications).  The top areas of support for New Orleans youth include:

  • Workforce Development and Job Training
  • Enrichment & Recreation
  • Childhood Literacy
  • Youth Advocacy
  • STEM Education
  • Family Support
  • Mental Health and Wellness
  • Mentorship and Personal Development
  • Domestic and Community Violence Prevention and Care
  • Financial Literacy

You can see the NOLA Coalition Year One Grant Report here.
You can see information on the over 40 NOLA Coalition members that received City Council funding here.

“Similar to the way we rebuilt our City – neighborhood by neighborhood, and school by school – after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, over 500 community groups have come together through the NOLA Crime Coalition to address the serious issue of violent crime in our City,” said Kim Boyle, founding member of the NOLA Coalition.  “While 2023 saw a 25% decline in murders in New Orleans, tragically, our city saw the highest number of children murdered in 2023 in more than a decade.  This cannot continue! Therefore, in its second year, the Crime Coalition has become a critical voice in developing solutions to break the horrible cycle of violence impacting our children, by dedicating resources and supporting programs and policies to support all of the children in our community.  The NOLA Crime Coalition is committed to making sure that our children grow up in a safe city.” 

Plans for 2024
The NOLA Coalition has a focused set of tactics for 2024 to further support public safety and our youth.  These include:

  • Building a “NOPD Recruiting App” to help streamline and modernize the NOPD applicant process
  • Continuing to monitor and track recruiting and retention, and to work with NOPD on improvements
  • Working closely with the incoming administration of Governor Landry to ensure maximum benefit from Louisiana state support for public safety in New Orleans
  • Focusing on the juvenile justice system, to help identify improvements in safety, rehabilitation, and accountability
  • Working with the New Orleans District Attorney, Sheriff, and other stakeholders on improving public safety
  • Serving as a key member of the coalition to permanently reduce homelessness in New Orleans
  • Continuing to raise and disburse funding for impactful youth service organizations, on the way to the $15M, three-year goal

“In 2022 our community benefited from a reduction in the volume of violent crime experienced by our citizens and visitors, said Jim Cook, founding member of the NOLA Coalition.  “Several agencies contributed to this reduction, and it is import we remember that the criminal justice system must work together in a concerted way to achieve reductions over time.  Our violent crime rates remain higher than those we achieved in 2018 and that should be our benchmark to ensure we never lose sight of the fact that one violent crime creates a victim and builds community trauma.   We are grateful for the efforts of the NOPD, DA’s office and our state and national law enforcement partners who have been instrumental in coordinating actions that resulted in these reductions.”
 
You can read more about the NOLA Coalition, including the platform and members, at www.NOLAcoalition.info.
 
“As we look forward to a new prosperous and healthy year for all, we, at the NOLA Coalition, ask that you keep all of our friends, family and community in your thoughts and wishes for a peaceful, healthy and safe 2024 New Year!” said NOLA Coalition founding member, Richard Cortizas.