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Crime in the Crescent: A Forum about Public Safety in New Orleans

Loyola press release - September 29, 2017

Led by the Center for the Study of New Orleans, this expert-led and data-driven discussion centers around a key topic facing mayoral candidates

Perennially a hot button issue in New Orleans, crime has once again risen to the forefront of public discourse about life in the Crescent City, and in the run-up to the mayoral election, Loyola’s Center for the Study of New Orleans is hosting a crime forum titled “Crime in the Crescent: A Forum About Public Safety in New Orleans.” The goal of this forum is to have a data-driven discussion about crime, its root causes, and impact upon the city’s quality of life.

“Information is education, and the better informed we are as citizens, the better job we can do making decisions about our neighborhoods and making decisions at the polls,” said Justin Nystrom, Ph.D., associate professor of history at Loyola and director of Loyola’s Oral Documentary Studio and Center for the Study of New Orleans. “In the run-up to New Orleans’ mayoral election, a crime analyst and civic and educational leaders will help to shed light on the facts.”

Loyola University New Orleans has assembled a panel of informed nonpartisan advocates who can educate the general public and policymaker alike about what is often an emotional and reactive topic. The aim of the discussion is to help shape the ongoing dialogue about crime in New Orleans during this political season and offer potential solutions for making the city a safer place for all.

Our panel includes journalist and crime analyst Jeff Asher, whose work appears in the New Orleans Advocate, on WWL-TV, and at the widely-read national data-driven political news outlet FiveThirtyEight.com. He will be joined by Melissa Sawyer, founder of the Youth Empowerment Project and named Gambit Weekly’s “New Orleanian of the Year” in 2016. Rounding out the panel is the President and CEO of the Foundation for Louisiana, Flozell Daniels, Jr., a nationally recognized leader in criminal justice reform and community resilience. This forum will be moderated by Dr. Rae Taylor, chair of Loyola’s department of Criminology and Justice.

“New Orleans has the ability and power to improve the quality of life for its citizens if it finds the will to do so,” notes Center Director Justin Nystrom. “Our panelists represent the kind of seasoned experts who can help us achieve this worthy goal.”

Panelists include:

· Jeff Asher, Independent Crime Analyst

· Melissa Sawyer, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Youth Empowerment Project

· Flozell Daniels, President and CEO, Foundation for Louisiana

· Rae Taylor, Chair, Loyola University New Orleans Department of Criminology and Justice (Moderator)

The event, which is part of the Center for the Study of New Orleans’ Crescent City Connections, a new series of interviews and forums, will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017 in Nunemaker Auditorium, Monroe Hall at Loyola, 6363 St. Charles Ave. The event is free and open to the public. Free parking is also available in the West Road parking garage.

For more information about this event, please contact Center for the Study of New Orleans Director Justin Nystrom at jnystrom@loyno.edu.