NOLa has lower crime rate, higher murder rate than nation
18th June 2012 · 1 Comment
By Travis M. Andrews
Being the exception is not always a positive.
In 2011, the amount of crimes reported across the nation dropped compared to the numbers seen in 2010. For most cities and towns across the country, this news should be met with cheers and handclaps. Not the case in New Orleans, however.
In 2011, the FBI release a Uniform Crime Report that showed the murder rate in New Orleans was 10 times the national average, averaging about 50 murders for every 100,000 residents. The national average hovers at around five.
In 2010, the Kaiser Foundation released a pool that stated crime is the most serious problem faced in New Orleans, more so than even housing, the economy or unemployment: all serious issues in their own right.
In 2011, the U.S. News and World Report ranked the 11 most dangerous cities in the nation. The list included Birmingham, Ala.; Atlanta, Ga., and Memphis, Tenn. It did not include New Orleans, which might seem surprising at first glance. The list goes on to state that New Orleans has the highest murder rate, but it falls below the national average in other crimes.
This is somewhat a statistical anomaly: most times, murders are accompanied with other crimes, which is what earned St. Louis, MO., its spot as the most dangerous city in the nation.
In 2009, according to the Kaiser Foundation, Orlando, FL. had 7,383 crimes (of all kinds) to the 3,846 crimes (of all kinds) in New Orleans. That same year, Orlando had 12 murders for every 100,000 people compared to the 52 per 100,000 in New Orleans.
In 2010, New Orleans saw 175 murders. In 2011, that number had jumped by 14 percent to 199 murders. This year, as of June 14, the city has seen 83. The most recent headlines that day read “Couple wanted in dismemberment of New Orleans woman in custody” and “74-year-old woman murdered in Gentilly group home.”
A NOLA.com poll of 720 people showed that 413 people think the Landrieu administration cares more about the murder rate than any other issues. That’s 57.36 percent of voters.
At the moment, there are a number of programs aimed at decreasing the violence in the city, including the outreach program that began in Chicago called CeaseFire that aims to “treat violence as a disease by anticipating where it could spread,” according to the Times-Picayune.
The program employs men and women called “interrupters” who attempt to do just that: interrupt a problem before it begins.
In a city that has a lower number of crimes than others overall but a severely higher number of murders, programs like this may be the only hope. The truism “time will tell” is really all that can be applied at the moment.
That, and a whole lot of hope.
This article was originally published in the June 18, 2012 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper