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Measuring Outcomes and Impact

The time period being measured is the first four years of NOLA FOR LIFE, May 2012 – April 2016. Pre-NOLA FOR LIFE data is also displayed when relevant, to give a comparison of the environment before NOLA FOR LIFE and how the strategy impacted the outcome. The ideal comparison point is the four years prior to NOLA FOR LIFE (May 2008 – April 2012) to the four years since the launch of NOLA FOR LIFE. Due to data limitations, 2010 is frequently the furthest back that data can be shown.

Performance indicators may be shown either as number of murders or as murder rate (the number of murders per 100,000 residents). Number of murders is important because ultimately we are trying to prevent lives being taken through violence. However, when comparing to cities of different population or even comparing to when New Orleans had a larger or smaller population, murder rate creates a standard comparison.

A set of performance indicators for each NOLA FOR LIFE initiative have been established in NOLA FOR LIFE: A Comprehensive Murder Strategy. These indicators were identified as the best outputs and outcomes to measure the effectiveness of an individual initiative, toward the overall goal of reducing murder. As the strategy has been implemented and refined, additional output and outcome measures have been developed and some of the initial measures have been removed. In most initiatives we will be reporting on each performance indicator in the Strategy, but in a few cases a more appropriate indicator has been identified and reported. Unless noted otherwise, the time period being measured for each initiative is:

  • Start: When NOLA FOR LIFE launched or when the initiative launched (whichever is later) 
  • End: When the initiative has been completed or the 4-year time period has completed (whichever is earlier)

When possible, we measure outcomes (as opposed to outputs). An output shows whether the initiative is doing what we planned to do, while an outcome shows whether an initiative or strategy has made an impact or improved the condition of a population. For example, number of gang members arrested is an output, but the number of gang-related murders is an outcome. If an initiative is designed to reduce gang murders by arresting gang members, looking at only the output of gang members arrested could miss the fact that you are not reducing gang murders, and therefore arresting gang members is not the right solution.

Karen Freeman-Wilson – Mayor, Gary, IN

After spending appreciable time with the NOLA FOR LIFE team in New Orleans, we were able to identify how to respond to our violence in Gary, Indiana and implemented Gary for Life (substantiating the adage that “imitation is the greatest form of flattery”). Through our time with the team and  ur observations of NOLA FOR LIFE, it became clear that this was a community-centered approach to murder that would have a great impact on citizens of New Orleans by reducing homicides resulting from group involvement, increasing accountability, and community-based prevention.

NOLA FOR LIFE has encouraged the city of Gary to take a close look at our efforts against violent crime and provided us with the basis for tailoring a new approach in Gary. As a result, we have conducted “call-ins” and cut group-related homicides in half between 2015 and 2016. Between 2014 and 2015, crime was reduced in every category.

NOLA FOR LIFE is successful because it places responsibility for homicide (something that impacts the community) in the hands of the entire community. It also requires untraditional allies such as law enforcement, social service agencies, former offenders, clergy and employers to work together to reduce homicides in the community.

The citizens of Gary will be forever indebted to Mayor Landrieu and the entire NOLA FOR LIFE team for working with the city of Gary to implement the NOLA FOR LIFE strategy in Gary, Indiana. As a result, citizens are more engaged, law enforcement has widened their horizons and our city is being restored.

Jack Calhoun – President, Hope Matters; Senior Consultant, National League of Cities, Institute for Youth, Education and Families; Senior Advisor, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, DSG, Inc.

Outraged by its high levels of recorded murders and shootings – 10 times the national average – the City, spurred by Mayor Landrieu, launched a comprehensive, ambitious plan to reduce homicides and improve the quality of life for all citizens.

The resulting plan, NOLA FOR LIFE rests on five pillars:

  • Stop the Shootings, which includes strategies such as Ceasefire and Group Violence Reduction Strategy
  • Prevention, including recreation, mentoring, restorative justice and school-based responses to trauma
  • Promote Jobs and Opportunity
  • Rebuild Neighborhoods physically and alter community norms, and
  • Strengthen the NOPD

These are not just words, a plan based in rhetoric alone. Most impressive is the mayor’s deep, passionate and abiding commitment to effect major changes across the board. He has attracted additional resources, seen the murder rate drop 18% and mobilized the governmental, civic and private sectors in a coordinated, multi-disciplinary action plan.

Guided by an overall vision and anchored in objectives and performance indicators, the plan specifies activities and responsible parties. To ensure coordination and synergy, the work is guided by the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team.

Through NOLA FOR LIFE, New Orleans, a city torn apart by some of the highest rates of violence in America, is well on its way to reducing violence and building healthy, vital communities that do not produce violence.