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Students in "Murder" Class Analyze Ongoing High Profile Homicide Cases

Tulane students in Dr. Peter Scharf's "Violence in the Community" class spend a lot of time talking about the ongoing murder problem in New Orleans, which helped earned the class's nickname: the "Murder" class.

Many of the students are Public Health majors hoping to make a difference in the lives of people by acknowledging healthcare disparities and socioeconomic conditions. They realize this is problem of epic proportions and understand there is no easy fix.

Guests are frequent from the criminal justice community, and on Monday, Sergeant Yolanda Jenkins from the New Orleans Police Department offered her expertise on community policing.

Students also brainstormed about crime they feel is pervading their communities and what kinds of solutions they could try.

However throughout the class, talk of violent crime and and its impact was discussed, from solutions to frustrations.

Student Matthew Kennedy was out with friends at the very intersection that a man was murdered and several wounded Halloween night on Bourbon Street.

"If we had just stayed a little bit longer on that corner who knows what could have happened, because we had a group of six of us in a crowded area like that," Kennedy said.

He and others are amazed to be learning about violent crime and impact right around them in this city simultaneously. And these students are very interested in solutions, understanding they would take years.

"Push for preventative measures, improving opportunities for children and young males in this city in order to get them off the streets and give them opportunities other than this violent criminal lifestyle," Kennedy said.

"I think as a citizen, living in New Orleans  I think it is important that we find we’re being proactive in addressing these problems, because for my safety and for everyone else in the community, we all want to feel safe and we all want to be safe and I think that we need to be proactive and try new things because what we’re doing right now isn’t working," said student Erin Yastrow.


Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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