The New Orleans Police Department has dominated local criminal justice news these past few days. The Inspector General recently asked why the NOPD has so many of its officers in offices and so few on patrol, and also accused the NOPD of misclassifying rape incidents. NPR, on the other hand, published a story about how the NOPD’s new body cameras are working and FOX 8 showed how the NOPD is analyzing trends in who is being victimized by crime in New Orleans in order to better target its policing strategies.
Court Watch NOLA has learned about the NOPD’s data collection and analysis efforts related to victims of violent crime, and it is impressive. The NOPD seems to have hired exceptionally qualified people and obtained cutting edge software to assist with this effort.
The question, however, is whether the NOPD has a well-thought-out plan for making practical use of the data. CWN itself collects a great quantity of information about the court system, and is uniquely suited to understand that collecting data is only half the battle. Convincing entrenched system actors – whether they be judges, clerks, or police officers – to act on the data is just as, if not more, important. So kudos to the NOPD for gathering this information, and good luck to it as it tries to turn all of those “1”s and “0”s into a real-life reduction in the local crime rate.