As residents throughout the New Orleans area have expressed concern about crime, the Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR) presented a special Breakfast Briefing Series on Public Safety to help residents come together and explore effective steps to make New Orleans safer for all citizens.
“BGR is an organization that seeks solutions to the complex problems facing the New Orleans area,” said BGR President and CEO Rebecca Mowbray. “We have heard citizen concerns and wanted to use our longstanding Breakfast Briefing format in a new way to contribute to this important discussion in a timely and constructive manner.”
These free events examined public safety issues from data, law enforcement, academic and community perspectives to help inform discussion about what it will take to make New Orleans safe. BGR’s special Breakfast Briefing Series on Public Safety took place in three sessions, in a mix of virtual and in-person formats. Admission was free thanks to the sponsorship of First Horizon Bank.
The opening session explored facts about crime and what puts our city at risk. Held virtually on Friday, April 8, the first session, “Lessons from the Data: Current Public Safety Trends and Factors that Influence Them,” featured discussion of local public safety and community data analysis by Jeff Asher, co-founder of AH Datalytics, and Lamar Gardere, executive director of The Data Center. Watch the video replay here.
On Friday, April 22, BGR hosted the second session, “Beyond Law Enforcement: Exploring Community-Based Strategies to Make New Orleans Safer.” This virtual event examined community investments and initiatives that can complement effective police work, with insights from Dr. Jeffrey Butts, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York; Karen Evans, executive director of the New Orleans Children and Youth Planning Board; and James Logan, who has worked in community development and social justice in a variety of ways and who served as immediate past president of 100 Black Men of Metro New Orleans. BGR board member Charles West, the architect of NOLA For Life, a former public safety strategy that focused on community-based solutions coupled with law enforcement that coincided with drops in the murder rate in New Orleans, moderated the session. Watch the video replay here.
On Thursday, May 12, the third and final session, “A View From the Top: Insights from Law Enforcement Leaders in Orleans and Jefferson Parishes,” brought together New Orleans Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson and Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph Lopinto in a conversation about local law enforcement challenges and opportunities, moderated by Jim Letten, a former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana. BGR hosted this event in-person at the First Horizon Atrium and livestreamed the event online. Watch the video replay here.
The recordings of these events on bgr.org will continue to provide an informative resource on the issues. “This Breakfast Briefing Series on Public Safety is a unique opportunity for citizens and policymakers in the New Orleans area to deepen their understanding of important public safety issues,” Mowbray said. “We hope our speakers will help you to stay informed and engaged as our community works toward safer, stronger neighborhoods.”