Murder in New Orleans

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The Murder rate in New Orleans isn't what people think -- it well may be higher... From the Times-Picayune:
Study: Murder rate is even higher
Figures make N.O. the deadliest city

A new study by a Tulane University professor puts New Orleans' murder rate as the highest in the country.

The study estimates the city's 2006 murder rate at 96 per every 100,000 people.

Determining the exact per capita murder rate, the most popular measuring stick for overall violent crime, has largely been up for debate, falling victim to slippery estimates of the city's post-Katrina population.

The new study, by demographer Mark VanLandingham, aims to fix the main flaw in previous per capita murder estimates for 2006: It takes into account the large change in New Orleans' population during the year, with far fewer people in the city at the beginning of 2006 than at the end. That change raises the murder rate substantially.

For instance, using the highest static population estimate VanLandingham found in his research, 201,000, would produce a murder rate of about 80 per 100,000 people, still significantly lower than the new study's conclusion. Using the figure New Orleans Police Superintendent Warren Riley has offered -- 275,000, based on an estimate rather than research -- the murder rate would fall to just 58 per 100,000 people.

VanLandingham, a professor in the international health and development department of Tulane's School of Public Health, sought to bring hard fact to a debate between the Police Department and critics who say the it has downplayed the crime problem.
Other cities?
The 2006 murder rates of other cities were exponentially lower than New Orleans' rate. Houston had a rate of about 20 per 100,000 residents, according to statistics for the first half of 2006, the most recent released by the FBI. Detroit had a rate of 41; Baltimore, 42; St. Louis, 32; Philadelphia, 25; and Newark, N.J., 36.
And the police department's comments:
New Orleans Police Department spokesman Sgt. Joe Narcisse said police officials look at the murder rate but question whether any true rate can be established. "The change in our population makes it hard to quantify with any degree of certainty," he said.

Narcisse added that holding the title of the country's most murderous city damages New Orleans' reputation. "It hurts the city, and it hurts us all, when we look at murder rates with those per capita numbers," he said.
Of course, it's not that the numbers make the police department look ineffective is it? No, these just aren't nice numbers, we want to use some nicer ones. And the word of independent demographers and criminologists?
In his study, VanLandingham used a group of the most widely accepted population estimates to estimate a month-by-month breakdown of the number of people in the city.

Other demographers and criminologists called the research the most accurate -- and frightening -- estimate of the murder rate to date.

"What the police have done is use year-end stats and year-end population to push the rate down," said Peter Scharf, a criminologist at the University of New Orleans. "This study makes the rate more precise."

Scharf said New Orleans' rate far exceeds that of other large cities. However, he sees a more worrisome sign in the study. "Now matter how your parse it, we are murder city, murder capital," he said. "But forget it, let's move on. The second issue is that we have an ascending murder rate. It's going up. That's more worrisome."
Decades of cronyism, corruption, poor education and excessive government handouts -- this is what you get...

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on March 14, 2007 8:16 PM.

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