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Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Police Chief Michael Harrison, hold a press conference at the University Medical Center after 6 people were shot including a child on the 3600 block of Franklin Ave in the Gentilly neighborhood in New Orleans, Thursday, June 8, 2017.

Advocate Staff photo by SOPHIA GERMER

What will be New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s legacy on crime?

That’s the question posed by local crime analyst Jeff Asher in a recent article published by The Gambit. It’s much too early to reach a conclusion, Asher writes, but he breaks down what he considers likely to be four central themes in defining the mayor’s future legacy.

Among the positives: The city’s NOLA for Life program, launched in 2012, “produced positive results against gun violence almost immediately,” Asher writes. Between May 2012 and April 2013, New Orleans averaged 37 shootings per month, but only 27 shootings per month from May 2013 through the end of the year, according to Asher.

Though shootings increased again in 2014, the number of homicides declined to its lowest rate since 1971.

“If New Orleans ever stems its murder rate long-term, the success of NOLA for Life undoubtedly will have played a role,” Asher writes.

However, gun violence started to increase again beginning in the summer of 2016. The recent rise in the level of shooting incidents, particularly over the last 365 days, demonstrates how “fragile” the gains from NOLA for Life have been, according to Asher.

Asher counts the reforms in the New Orleans Police Department under Chief Michael Harrison as a positive for Landrieu, citing the department’s “progressive” use of force policies, its Ethical Policing is Courageous peer intervention program, and its open crime and policing data.

But the NOPD’s manpower crisis, stemming from a three-year hiring freeze instituted by the city in 2010, may end up being “the bleakest aspect of the mayor’s crime-related legacy,” Asher writes.

“Fewer officers on the street led directly and indirectly to longer response times, dramatic declines in proactive policing, a plummeting homicide clearance rate and a spike in overall crime on Landrieu’s watch,” Asher writes.

Read Asher’s full article from The Gambit here.