Community services

Invest in community services, not the police, New Orleans tells

The Vera Institute of Justice has recommended that New Orleans use federal funds to invest in youth services, community violence intervention programs and a $40 million mental health “community solutions center” to facing an increase in violent crime over the past two years, reports The Lens.

The organization advised the New Orleans City Council Criminal Justice Committee to focus on upfront investments rather than spending more money on police and prosecutors.

The 100-bed mental health “community solutions center” proposed by the Vera Institute would offer three levels of service: a 24-hour drop-in and drop-in center for people in mental health crisis; a “crisis stabilization” level that would provide stays of five to seven days while people are connected to services; and residential care for people with longer-term needs that would allow stays of 30 to 60 days.

The organization also recommended $2 million in proposed violence response funding to launch a “community-led, community-based violence response program,” which would exist outside of city government. .

He suggested increasing funding for the Mayor’s Office for Gun Violence Prevention, which identifies and provides services to those deemed most at risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of gun violence.

Vera also presented an analysis of NOPD calls made publicly showing that the majority of calls were related to issues such as traffic problems or quality of life complaints, such as noise, and less than 5% were related to violent crimes.

Further Reading: Why Defunding the Police Should Stay on the Agenda, The Crime Report, February 23, 2022