As homicides spike in US cities, a New Orleans church remembers victims with a ‘murder board’

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As homicides spike in US cities, a New Orleans church remembers victims with a ‘murder board’

[ad_1] NEW ORLEANS – Hundreds of more Americans are being killed in the streets of big cities. The Council on Criminal Justice reports murders have

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Hundreds of more Americans are being killed in the streets of big cities. 

The Council on Criminal Justice reports murders have gone up by 44% since the pandemic. 

AT LEAST 16 CITIES SEE RECORD HOMICIDES IN 2021

New Orleans is one city off to a grim start in 2022, as 19 homicides have been recorded so far, double the number the city had this time last year. 

Soon, each of those victims’ names will be written on a wall that stands outside St. Anna’s Episcopal Church in the heart of New Orleans. It’s known locally at the city’s “murder board.” Hundreds of names tell the story of over a decade’s worth of murders in South Louisiana. 

“It’s a stark reminder about human loss,” said Father Bill Terry. “What it simply does is present an age, a name, and a method of murder. We found that has huge impact.” 

Hundreds of homicide victims are listed on a wall outside St. Anna's Episcopal Church in New Orleans. 

Hundreds of homicide victims are listed on a wall outside St. Anna’s Episcopal Church in New Orleans. 

Terry started the murder board in 2007, after a year violent crime. Fifteen years later, he says very little has changed. 

US MURDER RATE HIGHEST IT’S BEEN IN 25 YEARS AS BIG CITIES SHATTER RECORDS 

“We haven’t addressed the issue of murder in our cities in any sort of substantial, long-term way,” Terry said. “If it’s getting worse, there’s even more of a necessity to tell the story of urban violence.” 

It’s Deacon Luigi Mandile’s job to update the board. 

“The last month or so, I’ll put down a minimum of 13-14 names between New Orleans and Baton Rouge,” Mandile said. “I just think everyone should be remembered. It’s a reminder of what’s happening in our city. It’s out of control.” 

Victims as young as 6 months old are honored on the wall. 

Victims as young as 6 months old are honored on the wall. 

Homicides are already spiking in major cities this year. 

HOMICIDES THROUGH JAN. 23:

  • NEW YORK CITY — 20
  • LOS ANGELES — 26
  • CHICAGO — 36
  • HOUSTON — 41

Sgt. Latina Jolivett of the Victims Assistance Unit for the New Orleans Police Department wants to remind families waiting for justice that they have not been forgotten. 

“They are important, and their loved one’s case is important,” Jolivett said. “It’s also important for families to know that any information they think could be helpful, share that information with your detective.” 

2021 ENDS AS CHICAGO’S DEADLIEST YEAR IN A QUARTER CENTURY 

St. Anna’s Episcopal Church hasn’t forgotten victims and their loved ones either. 

The names of murder victims from 2021 are handwritten until they can be permanently recorded. 

The names of murder victims from 2021 are handwritten until they can be permanently recorded. 

“Showing a community that their son or daughter has value has a lot of power to it,” Terry said. “I’ve had local mothers come to me and say, ‘I didn’t think anybody cared about my baby, but you do because their name is there.'” 

In addition to honoring victims with the wall, the church is also hoping to do its part to lower crime by offering an after-school program for kids. 

“We are focusing on the long game,” Terry said. “There is not one kid in our program who has been murdered. They have all graduated from high school, and most of them go off to college or technical school” 

Crime analysts say the increase in both legal and illegal guns has driven up homicide rates. NOPD officers took 2,000 guns off the streets in New Orleans in 2021. 

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