October 2, 2007

More Boots on the Streets

Actually, the same amount of boots. They will just be out there longer, wearing out their soles a little more:
Starting this week, uniformed officers in most New Orleans police districts will be on duty 12 hours a day, five days a week.

The move to 60-hour workweeks, proposed last month by Police Superintendent Warren Riley, means more officers will be on the street to battle the city's seemingly intractable violent-crime problem. The mandatory overtime shifts, opposed by two of the city's largest police associations, are scheduled to end at the close of the year.
The overtime patrols will be in five districts only: 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th, and 7th. These districts are the most violent districts. 136 murders out of the 151 murders in New Orleans this year (that I have counted going by media reports) occurred in these five districts.

Here’s the murder breakdown by district:
1st – 31 murders
2nd – 17 murders
3rd – 2 murders
4th – 13 murders
5th – 35 murders
6th – 27 murders
7th – 26 murders
8th – 0 murders
September had 13 murders by my count. That is the lowest number since February, which also had 13 murders (by my count). Interestingly, none of murders were in the 1st District, which has one of the highest totals for the year (31). There were six murders in August in the 1st District. I hope that is a sign of positive things to come.

At the end of the third quarter of 2007, I count 151 murders this year in the city of New Orleans. In a city with a population of 300,000, that comes to a murder rate of 67 murders per 100,000 residents. We are averaging a murder every 1.8 days, basically a murder every other day. We are on track for 201 murders by the end of the year. If nothing changes, 50 more human beings will die a violent death on the streets of New Orleans. Most of those who die will be black men under thirty, shot to death.

Even with two of the lowest monthly totals for the year, the third quarter still had more murders than the first or second quarters:
First Quarter – 48 murders
*Jan – 17
*Feb – 13
*Mar – 18

Second Quarter – 50 murders
*Apr – 15
*May – 15
*Jun – 20

Third Quarter – 53 murders
*Jul – 14
*Aug – 26
*Sep – 13
My numbers differ from the NOPD’s official numbers because the NOPD records a murder in the month that the victim dies. If a person is shot in February but dies in March, the NOPD records it as a March murder. I count it as a February murder.

Also, I count murders solely by media reports. If a murder has not been reported by the media, I don’t know about it. For example, the T-P article says there were 29 murders in August. I know one June victim died in August, so the NOPD would count that as an August murder. However, I can not find media reports on the other two murders. I can not count them if I have no evidence to cite.

Therefore, my count should be considered the lowest count possible. There are “at least” 151 murders in New Orleans this year. Unfortunately, there might be more that I don’t know about.

1 comment:

bayoustjohndavid said...

I didn't see the post that you did on police manpower when you first changed blogs. As near as I can tell, Nagin's statement about the size of the class was correct, but essentially meaningless by itself. There were two years with almost no recruiting, so you would expect a larger class. One class being large might just reflect fewer classes. You need to compare recruitment levels (for whatever time frame) to attrition levels.

Also, everybody compares the police force now to its pre-Katrina size of 1600+. In fact, it was budgeted for 1800+. Compass came out for eliminating the residency rule because the city couldn't the police force up to 1800+ officers.

I still can't figure why nobody even asks about support personnel. I don't see how you could lay off 300 civilian employees without it having some effect. Obviously, the size of the police force is more important than the the size of the office staff. But there's more than money involved in recruiting and training police officers. I can't take discussions of the police department's size seriously until I hear that question asked. Even if it turns out that the civilian layoffs had no effect on the number of street patrols, at least ask the obvious question.

None of the above is intended to imply that I think the city's crime problem is primarily a matter of police presence.