One hundred National Guardsmen and 60 state police officers were to be sent to the city with up to 200 more troops deployed after that, according to the governor’s spokeswoman Denise Bottcher, the Associated Press reported.
Mayor Ray Nagin had requested the deployment after five teenagers in an SUV were shot and killed Saturday, and a man was stabbed to death Sunday in an argument over beer, according to Reuters.
“The situation is urgent,” Blanco said. “Things like this should never happen, and I am going to do all I can to stop it.”
Nagin said he would not let criminals take over the city while it is trying to recover from Hurricane Katrina.
The National Guard had as many as 15,000 soldiers in the city after the hurricane hit on Aug. 30. About 2,000 stayed until February, reported the AP.
The police force now has about 1,375 officers, down from about 1,750 before Hurricane Katrina. The city’s population of 465,000 has reduced to about half its size.
The killings brought this year’s murder toll to 53.
The City Council has said it would consider increasing overtime for police to put more officers on the street. The council members also called for a “crime summit” within two weeks.
“We have to deal with it now,” said Councilman Arnold Fielkow, quoted the AP. “If we don’t make people feel safe in their homes, nothing will happen. Let’s make this priority No. 1.”