Neighbors First for Bywater General Meeting – June 6, 2018

Neighbors First for Bywater General Meeting – 6/6/18 at Stallings Center

Julie Jones called the meeting to order at 7:12

The focus of the meeting was around the increase in crimes being committed by local youth.

Le Jon Roberts, 2nd in Command for the Fifth District and acting Commander addressed the uptick in juvenile crimes here and in the Marigny. He related that they “have a good account of what’s going on,” and that things are in place, including the introduction of two mounted police officers from 6pm – 10pm with perimeters of Franklin, Poland, Charters to St. Claude. There have been 200 more arrests of juveniles than this time last year. Roberts mentioned several times that this was a ‘revolving door,’ and not seemingly effective. The number of ‘repeat habitual offenders’ spikes in the summer. More cameras have gone up (Poland and St. Claude now has one, with three more planned in the net two weeks) so the Fifth District will be more protected and they are adding new people all the time.

Lieutenant Roberts extended an open invitation to the Fifth District’s weekly MAX meeting, held every Tuesday at 1:00 pm in the Fifth District station roll call room, located at 3900 N. Claiborne Avenue.  They also hold a monthly NONPACC meeting the second Wednesday of every month at 6:00 pm, same location. He can be reached at 504 658-6050; office 504 658-6515, email: NOPD Hot-sheets – every second Wednesday of the month at 6pm at the station on Claiborne. Roberts encouraged everyone to report, report, report. The point was made that as a victim, you can report or not report, to prosecute is up to the District Attorney.

Aaron Clark-Rizzio from Center for Children’s Rights, Louisiana spoke next. He objects to locking up juvenile offenders. Instead, he would like to “promote public safety through interventions and policy that works.” He shared that he and his family, including a 2 & 5 year old, are all affected by the shootings around their house, and are concerned in getting correct and effective information out. Clark-Rizzio argued that law enforcement does not equal public safety. Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the country – they have been doing the same thing over and over again. Arresting, with full knowledge that this kind of punitive treatment of juvenile offenders only increases the chances of future crime. He advocates Restorative Justice Practices: a reflection of our community as well as all the ways that we have failed as a community. Use good information – in reality only 5-10% of calls for service are for kids. According to him, it is a myth that crime rates go up in the summer because school is out.  Research shows that crime is weather related. Community has to focus on needs and not behavior. 75% of arrests are for non-violent and/or crimes that didn’t involve a gun. Mostly theft, battery and pot infractions. It’s not about reporting, it’s about repair.

We were them introduced to Analiese De Wulf & Calvin Pepp. De Wulf is an emergency room doctor. She and Mr. Pepp both work with CeaseFire Nola, which is based in Central City. Calvin spoke mainly, as he is part of a Peer Support Group every Saturday Morning that is focused on ‘these kids.’ He shared his agreement that these are kids and don’t understand the magnitude of what they do – they are dealing with (re-enacting) a traumatic and chaotic environment. There is no help in punishment of the behavior when the cause is not addressed. That’s the revolving door.

CeaseFire is example of one Public Health approach. Violence acts like every other disease, it spreads. A team of people who used to get arrested, they clean up their lives and the go in their community as an ‘antibody’ to help clean up the disease. These programs have reduced gun violence in Central City: by 44% (from 12 murders to 5 a year) and 60% (shootings), They need more resources for: education on gun violence, identifying who can we help, and helping other understand how this will change the quality of their lives.

The team in the hospital emergency rooms engage the whole family when someone gets shot in order to to help stop retaliatory shootings. They have been working on this since 2012.

Ashlei Morrison, Director of Community Relations for NORD.. (Stallings Center, where we meet, is one of their facilities.) NORD is geared towards kids having something productive to do, as well as provide activities for people of different ages, and it’s only productive if the kids get to the facilities. NORD does not do outreach, nor are they trained in any kind of social work or trauma work. They want to offer safe places for everyone to come and participate, to provide space for neighborhood groups, such as NFB, to meet. They plan to work with other organizations, like NOPD to offer midnight basketball. Her main takeaway is that the kids have to want to come.

Allison Cormier, District “C” Liaison for the City’s Neighborhood Engagement Office . Here to help citizens feel more empowered. Call 311 for City issues, Trainings on City Process, Resource and Referrals.  (504)658-4966 (o) (504)248-9859 (c)

Questions were posed about hours for pools (all different, website) Stallings, 8am- 6pm weekdays, 9-4 Saturday, 2-6 Sunday.

Questions and supporting comments on the use of Mindfulness as an aspect of Trauma Reduction and Resiliency training. Many programs out there for children and teens, theoretically. CeaseFire [it’s one word] does have aspects of mindfulness, and is based in a Cognitive Behavioral platform.

The question was raised about how to support these organizations, and how to increase safety.

Mainly be a friendly neighbor, say hello, over and over again. They did not say this, but a group like CeaseFire would surely accept donations.

Meeting adjourned 8:2

Submitted by N. Thacker, co-secretary


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