In ‘Hollywood South’ does the YouTube Generation Mistake On-Camera Crime for Celebrity Brand?

‘Reality’ Crime may be the next wave of phony entertainment

New Orleans has some choice nicknames. Take your pick:

  • The Big Easy
  • The Crescent City
  • N'awlins
  • NOLA

But the crime outbreak our city is suffering makes me wonder if Hollywood South isn’t the best.

Although most of us in law enforcement assumed the surveillance cameras modern technology provides would be a deterrent to shoot-outs and another broad daylight crimes, what if the YouTube generation of young criminals just wants to have fun — on videotape?

“It’s my brand,” you can imagine a sociopath saying. “I’ve got thousands of ‘likes’ on my Facebook page.”

Hollywood South, in case you don’t know, refers to the many feature films that have been shot here. Shot. No pun intended.

Unfortunately, some (but not all) experts are baffled as to why the footage NOLA cameras provide doesn’t seem to stop stupidity and sinful behavior.

Don’t get me wrong. If we have an image of an assailant wreaking havoc in public we’re more likely to make an apprehension.  That still makes me wonder why the ‘reality’ show doesn’t entirely deter outrageous acts of violence.

Can you imagine a Twitter feed or Instagram site dedicated to a young criminal’s heinous acts? I can. In no way am I suggesting that you, a law-abiding citizen, should not engage with social media. Enjoy, if it suits you.

Yet in a society that lauds meritocracy when, it seems, notoriety often reaps the bigger reward, I must ask: Is there a new breed of people who see true crime as entertainment? If the answer is yes, more cameras won’t help.  Psychological intervention may be where the funding must go.

A business colleague once told me, “You can’t fix stupid.”

Allow me to amend: “You may not be able to fix some young minds that have been irrevocably damaged by social circumstances.”

If the phenomenon New Orleans —  The Big Easy, The Crescent City, N'awlins, NOLA, and Hollywood South —is experiencing is beyond the grasp of police work and the criminal justice system . . .

Consider this thought from oft-quoted poet and philosopher George Santayana: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Allow me to amend: “Those who are entertained not appalled by recorded public memory —city videotape — are condemned to see endless acts of destructive behavior.”

Robert Sterling Hecker