Melding Police and Policy to Dramatically Reduce Crime in the City of New Orleans

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This study examines the reasons crime declined so rapidly in New Orleans following the 1996 implementation of the COMSTAT management and accountability style of policing. The author compares the results to similar efforts to reduce crime in the rest of the country by drawing on political and criminological theories of policing as well as sociological theories.


“The pessimism about the situation in New Orleans (including views expressed by the current police chief who said in November, 2008 that “the problem won't change until we take care of the poor people in this city until we take care of the impoverished in this city, until we give them the same educational opportunities as everyone else, until we give them direction”) is challenged in this work by Dr. Unter in my view refreshing optimism and police positivism. It further frames in the public mind the question: what are the causes of ascending murder rates in New Orleans and other urban areas and how might policing crime control policy address these trends? . . . Dr. Unter’s very impressive work offers a research-based answer to the cynics who declare New Orleans to be in a bankrupt status in terms of reversing these murderous trends.” – Prof. Peter Scharf, Tulane University

“[Unter] is to be commended for producing such a thoughtful and compelling work that engages a tremendous range of literature, tells engaging stories that speak directly to questions of theoretical interest, and engages multiple research methods. While the central theme of the research coalesces around violent crime reduction, the richness results from the linkages Unter effectively highlights between the practices and tactics of the New Orleans Police Department as implementers of crime policy as set forth by the political leaders of New Orleans and the resulting crime rates and the improved public support of the police department.” – Prof. William Perry McLean, Arkansas State University

“In a rigorous analysis, Dr. Unter’s findings provide new ideas on how to understand what many may see as a dichotomy between the perceptions of police chiefs and the academic world on how crime reduction is achieved in America.”– Dr. Ronal W. Serpas, Former Chief of Operations, New Orleans Police Department

Table of Contents

Preface by Peter Scharf, Tulane University
1. Introduction
2. A History of Crime in New Orleans and the Impetus for Change
3. The Public Policy Approach to Crime Reduction
4. Policing and Crime Reduction – in General and in New Orleans
5. Establishment of Models and Tests of Hypotheses of Crime Reduction
6. Judging Crime Policy Effectiveness
7. Conclusion

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