saints (n.) - NFL franchise presently based in New Orleans; boondoggle (n.) - an unnecessary or wasteful project or activity; saintsdoggle (n.) - the Saints' potential relocation situation in New Orleans, and the resulting boondoggle by Louisiana to keep the team from leaving

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Violent crime a problem that could drive Saints away

With all the great things that have happened with the New Orleans Saints this season, there is a very major problem taking place away from the football field and without any involvement of the team that could drive the franchise away from its home.

That problem, friends, is the ridiculous crime spree that has recently gripped the city.

I read earlier tonight that city officials are exploring options, including a curfew, in an attempt to fight off the senseless murders and violent crime that have continued to escalate.

Murders and violent crime unfortunately have been a New Orleans staple. Katrina was not able to wash that away, however, and the violence and bloodshed have come back with a vengeance.

Per capita, these types of criminal acts are at an all time high. Aside from that troubling fact alone, there are numerous other reasons to be greatly concerned.

For one, the nation has in a sense stopped paying attention to the city. In many people's eyes, why rebuild a city and send millions of aid when a substantial segment of the citizens are robbing and killing one another? This is especially so when the mayor of the gracious city of Houston has gone on record to state that the severe murder and violent crime uptick that city has suffered is to blame on Katrina evacuees who relocated there.

Why is there such an unencumbered criminal problem with some of these native New Orleanians? Why do these people resort to such violent acts? Why can't they clean up their act, not just for their own sake, but for the sake of innocent victims and, on a larger scale, the benefit of New Orleans?

The muggings and bloodshed are not just stealing the property and lives of innocent victims; they are also stealing the headlines.

Rare is the day that progress in New Orleans is hailed; instead, "several murders in a day" has been a story more often told.

And in that, these vigilantes are stealing potential recovery, and preventing it from truly taking strides forward.

The surge in an already insanely high crime area is discouraging people from moving back to New Orleans. It's also making people who did come back want to leave, and soon.

Businesses will probably be on the way out of town if the city is not reasonably safe, or if they cannot find qualified employees to work.

That brings us to the Saints.

While the NFL may not have wanted a public relations disaster on its hands by taking the team from New Orleans after Katrina, the public may be quite sympathetic to the league for the aforementioned reasons if the team relocates for its own good, and for the good of its employees.

The players, coaches, staffers, and their families who call New Orleans home will be included in the above category if things don't turn around soon.

And, if businesses begin to migrate out instead of into New Orleans, the Saints will probably be left to find another home. The team depends on support of local businesses in more ways than one. Local businesses hire local people, who then buy tickets and merchandise to support the Saints.

Take away part of this necessary lifeblood, and keep up the violence, and the team that once symbolized the return of a great city could also symbolize the impending death of it.

The killings must stop.

The muggings must stop.

The leaders of the city, the state, and the country must pull together, take control, and whip New Orleans into shape.

And quickly.

Because reasonable people and business owners will not put up with it for much longer.


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