Statement on Metropolitan Crime Commission assessment of calls for service, arrests, and jail population trends in New Orleans

Monday, the Metropolitan Crime Commission (MCC) published its 2019–2020 assessment of calls for service, arrests, and jail population trends. MCC asserts that since the dissolution of district-based task forces in May 2020, 911 calls for violent crimes and drug violations have increased while arrests have decreased. Looking at the numbers tells a different story.

According to the 2020 New Orleans open data on calls for service, 911 calls for service are no higher now than they were at the year’s start. And the four charges MCC represents as having “steadily increased”—homicide, aggravated battery, drug violations, and weapons violations—only account for a miniscule proportion of citizen calls (fewer than 5 percent) and have remained a consistently small fraction of calls all year. Indeed, the vast majority of calls are for minor incidents—disturbances, burglar alarms, and area checks.


This week, the New Orleans Police Department will present its 2021 budget for consideration. The city already spends too much money on policing. This fiscal year, 24 percent of the city budget is spent on policing. This level of spending is more than 50 percent above the U.S. average. In this time of austerity budgets, we should be investing in community-based services for education, housing, and jobs instead.

About the Vera Institute of Justice:

The Vera Institute of Justice is a justice reform change agent. Vera produces ideas, analysis, and research that inspire change in the systems people rely upon for safety and justice. Vera collaborates with the communities most impacted by these systems and works in close partnership with government and civic leaders to implement change. Across projects, Vera is committed to explicitly and effectively reducing the burdens of the justice system on people of color and frames all work with an understanding of our country’s history of racial oppression. Vera is currently pursuing core priorities of ending the misuse of jails, transforming conditions of confinement, providing legal services for immigrants, and ensuring that justice systems more effectively serve America’s increasingly diverse communities. Vera has offices in Brooklyn, NY; Washington, DC; New Orleans, and Los Angeles.