Violent crime is such a pressing problem in New Orleans that the federal government is shoring up the local criminal justice system, USA Today reports. Crime was up 107% in the first quarter of 2007 over the previous year, a jump the NOPD attributes to population growth—but the increased presence of FBI, ATF, and DEA agents suggests otherwise.
FBI agents are working with homicide detectives, and federal gun cases, which carry stiff mandatory sentences, are on the rise. The DA, whose office has been forced to drop 3,000 mostly drug-related cases because the storm destroyed evidence as well as the crime lab, attributes the breakdown to Katrina. "This is really our battle to win," says Eddie Jordan.