Spates of deadly violence impacted several U.S. cities to start 2023, outpacing the same period in 2022, and experts variously called for proper police funding, community trust-building efforts and investment in at-risk youth in response.
Jacksonville, New Orleans, Minneapolis, the Las Vegas area, Washington, D.C. and Nashville all had more homicides or murders to start 2023 than during the same time last year. Experts advocated for reducing violent crime through strategic investments in community resources.
“We’re less than a month into 2023, so it’s tough to say what a violent start to the year in so many cities will mean,” Speaking to the crime increases in these cities, Georgia Center for Opportunity Criminal Justice Initiatives Director Josh Crawford told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “But we’re now into our 8th year of an upward trajectory in terms of homicide and violent crime.”
Violent crime was the leading cause of death for New Orleans children in 2022, a memo from Democratic New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said. By Jan. 15, 13 people had been murdered in the city, five more than during the same stretch in 2022, according to NOLA.com.
“In the past, we saw that some of the increases in crime were specific to local factors,” Due Process Institute Director of Rule of Law Initiatives Jason Pye told the DCNF. “I’m sure this is already on the minds of law enforcement, but they should allocate resources to the areas where crime is most prevalent and work to establish trust in these communities.”
Three people, including 15-year-old Dwane Boutain, were shot during a New Orleans vehicle chase on Jan. 7, 4WWL reported. Authorities found more than 70 bullet casings on the block, according to City Councilmember Joe Giarrusso.
In Washington, D.C., there has been a more than 63% rise in homicides compared to this point last year, according to police data. Between Jan. 1 and Friday, there were 13 homicides.
“As we progress through 2023, we are continuing to address crime and gun violence in our city,” Metropolitan Police Department Public Affairs Specialist Alaina Gertz told the DCNF. She referenced a letter from D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee claiming that detectives are working tirelessly to address this issue.
Two children ages six and nine were shot Jan. 11 as they exited a metro bus, the Washington Examiner reported. Speaking to the violence, Contee said, “Over and over, we see people turning to illegal guns to commit acts of violence. It is completely unacceptable, and it must stop now.”
Jacksonville reached 11 reported homicides for the year on Monday, according to News 4. The city’s 10th homicide of 2022 did not occur until Jan. 27, the Jacksonville Florida Times-Union reported.
Nashville saw eight homicides by Jan. 9, 2023, despite only one happening by that point the previous year, according to WSMV. Four more homicides took place in the city by Jan. 17.
“It breaks my heart because we are just 17 days in so 12 homicides in 17 days. That is a lot,” said AnTwand Covington Jr. Foundation President Talia Monget-Simmons, whose 17-year-old son was previously murdered, WSMV reported.
As of Jan. 13, Las Vegas Valley saw a 175% increase in murders, from 4 in 2022 to 11 in 2023, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) statistics show. An assailant fatally stabbed 63-year-old David Anthony Cary at an area bus station on Jan. 15, according to Fox 5.
Minneapolis’ year-to-date homicide total stood at four last year through Jan. 19, but six struck the city during that span in 2023, city data indicates. More than 200 officers left the Minneapolis Police Department in about two years after George Floyd protests started in 2020, CBS Minnesota reported.
Crawford said data makes the solutions to increasing violent crime fairly clear.
“Holding the small number of violent actors accountable and investing resources into at-risk youth can meaningfully reduce violent crime,” he told the DCNF. “But that means properly funding police agencies, prosecuting and incarcerating violent criminals, and investing in young people on the edge of civil society and criminality.”
The New Orleans Police Department, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Department, Minneapolis Police Department, LVMPD and Metropolitan Nashville Police Department did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.