The presence of uniformed Louisiana State Police troopers, deputies from the Orleans and Jefferson Parishes, and officers of the New Orleans, Harahan and Westwego police departments patrolling the streets of the New Orleans French Quarter for special events like the 1997 Sugarbowl and Superbowl was certainly a good thing. Anyone with a car can travel to or from Harahan, Westwego, Kenner, Metairie or New Orleans within a matter of minutes. The New Orleans community has expanded well beyond the boundaries of Orleans Parish. Most of this expansion is directly due to the City of New Orleans, which continues to change with the times. The Port is still a great asset, but it has to constantly fight to maintain its position against competing cities. Tourism and visitors from out of state have become an ever increasing very important to the local economy, including attractions such as the world-class Morial Convention Center, Louisiana Superdome, Audubon Zoo, Aquarium of the Americas, Jazzland Theme Park and the truly unique French Quarter.
Neighboring police departments need to work together to solve and deter crime for local citizens and tourists alike. The combined resources of the various local law enforcement agencies is a formidable force. Criminals do not stop at the parish line or modify their behavior based upon whether or not they are technically within the legal boundaries of the city. Many criminals probably don’t even know where the boundaries are! Law enforcement agencies have cooperated with each other for years by sharing information, making arrests, and holding fugitives. The combination of street patrol forces at a location, such as the French Quarter, is important to the entire extended community and makes a lot of sense.
Violent crime has started to drop over the past few years. The earlier trend of increasing murders in the City of New Orleans topped off in 1994. The City of New Orleans had 349 reported murders in 1996, 364 in 1995 and a high of 421 in 1994. Although the horrifying Louisiana Pizza Kitchen murders in the French Quarter received a great deal of media attention across the country in late 1996, most of New Orleans’ murders occurred outside the French Quarter or high tourism areas.
Cities compete with each other for industries which create jobs and a better standard of living for their residents. Other southern cities like Houston and Atlanta (which defiantly have crime problems of their own) have been able to entice some New Orleans based businesses to move their corporate offices from New Orleans. However, no other city can compete with New Orleans’ rich heritage and tourism facilities, including the first class hotels, Ernest Morial Convention Center, Louisiana Superdome, French Quarter, Casinos, Mississippi River cruises, swamp tours, southern plantations, world class restaurants, creole cuisine, coffee and chicory, hot beniets, music, jazz, Aquarium of the Americas, Audubon Zoo, art galleries, Jazz and Heritage Festival, Mardi Gras, red beans and rice, and all the other special and unique features and traditions which make New Orleans such an attractive tourist destination. Tourism and the hospitality industry benefits the entire metropolitan area, including residents of neighboring parishes and the additional police presence in the French Quarter is certain to deter crime.