June 16, 2008

More on murder rates: Jefferson Parish and New Orleans

So, going by my previous post, the FBI says New Orleans had a murder rate of 95 murders per 100,000 residents in 2007. That’s high - probably too high, because the US Census population numbers for New Orleans were low. My calculation is more like a murder rate of 80 (that’s what I am using here).

What about Jefferson Parish?

By my count, Jefferson Parish (including incorporated and unincorporated JP) had at least 55 murders in 2007. By the US Census’ count, Jefferson Parish had 423,520 people last year. JP officials say that number is too low. I am okay with it as an average for 2007.

That makes the Jefferson Parish 2007 murder rate 13 murders per 100,000 residents.


Jefferson Parish had a murder rate of 13 last year. New Orleans – right next door – had a murder rate of 80 (going by my count).

Using my population numbers (260,000 for NOLA, which is different from the US Census, and 423,000 for JP), the combined JP/NOLA murder rate for 2007 is 38 murders per 100,000 – still in the top 10 highest 2007 murder rates according to the FBI:
1. Gary, IN – 73 (pop. 97,048)
2. Richmond, CA – 46 (pop. 102,471)
3. Baltimore, MD – 45 (pop. 624,237)
4. Detroit, MI – 44 (pop. 860,971)
5. St. Louis, MO – 40 (pop. 348,197)
6. Birmingham, AL – 38 (pop. 227,686)
7. JP/NOLA – 38 (pop. 683,000)
8. Newark, NJ – 37 (pop. 280,158)
9. Baton Rouge – 31 (pop. 228,446)
10. Oakland, CA – 30 (pop. 396,541)
A more optimistic calculation would use a NOLA population of 300,000 and a JP population of 445,000. Those numbers seem high to me. Nevertheless, the “optimistic” combined murder rate would be 35 per 100,000 residents – still in the top 10 highest.

My point here is to show that something is going on. New Orleans’ murder rate is way too high. Even factoring in JP’s 2007 population – anywhere from 150,000 to 200,000 more people – and JP’s lower murder total, the combined 2007 murder rate is still near the top in the country.

Something is going on.


E.J. said...

Welcome back, my man!

Anonymous said...

You make an interesting point, but you can't compare your modified numbers with the base numbers for other cities unless you modify them in a similar manner to the way you adjusted the NO statistics.

m.d. said...


I wanted to point out that the New Orleans murder rate is so high that even by adding the incredibly lower numbers and higher population of neighboring Jefferson Parish, the combined number is still high.

I have also been questioned for only focusing on New Orleans and not including the metro area. Hence, the Jefferson Parish numbers.

I do think it is a valid tool in understanding violent crime here to focus on New Orleans not including JP because the most populated parts of the two parishes are essentially no different in geography, but very different in total murders.

bayoustjohndavid said...

I'm not sure if this is what anonymous is referring to, but it seems odd to give the combined numbers for N.O. and its largest suburb while only the numbers for the core city in the other cases. The majority of the cities with high murder rates are abandoned central cities with very few middle class or more prosperous neighborhoods. Jefferson has its poor areas, but you've basically watered down the New Orleans stats by including a large number of middle class neighborhoods where murders are relatively rare.

What's really interesting is that we have this murder rate at a time when per capita incomes are said to be way up and the unemployment rate is reported to be only 3%.

Anonymous said...

I would presume that the real unemployment rate (a measure of unemployment among those counted in the labor force) is far, far higher.

publiucious said...

The unemployment rate for Orleans Parish in Nov. 2008 was 7.1 percent, compared to 6.7 percent nationally for the same period. It was 4.9 percent for the entire metro area.

aa said...


Anonymous said...

bayoustjohndavid you have it the wrong way round, using the city is methodologically flawed as it doesn't account for transients coming in and out and also the narrow boundary is wrapped around the part of the metro with probably the most violent resident population.

The FBI and other top criminologists constantly warn against the use of central cities - the metro is, in fact, the proper comparison so not only should Jefferson be used but all other parishes too.