June 15, 2008

The New Orleans murder rate is still really high

I haven’t posted in a while, but I have continued to track murders in the city. As of June 15, we are up to at least 88 murders in New Orleans.

On June 9, the FBI released its Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report for 2007, which “is based on information that the FBI gathered from 12,032 law enforcement agencies that submitted six to 12 comparable months of data to the FBI for both 2006 and 2007.”

For reported murders in 2007, here are the ten cities with the most murders, followed by their counts:
Total Murders in 2007
1. New York, NY – 496
2. Chicago, IL – 443
3. Philadelphia, PA – 392
4. Los Angeles, CA – 390
5. Detroit, MI – 383
6. Houston, TX – 351
7. Baltimore, MD – 282
8. Phoenix, AZ – 213
9. New Orleans, LA – 209
10. Dallas, TX – 200
New Orleans isn’t #1 when it comes to total murders. We’re #9. That’s good news.

But I am sure you noticed that one of these cities is not like the others. Here are the same ten cities in order of their official 2007 populations:
1. New York, NY – 8,220,196
2. Los Angeles, CA – 3,870,487
3. Chicago, IL – 2,824,434
4. Houston, TX – 2,169,544
5. Phoenix, AZ – 1,541,698
6. Philadelphia, PA – 1,435,533
7. Dallas, TX – 1,239,104
8. Detroit, MI – 860,971
9. Baltimore, MD – 624,237
10. New Orleans, LA – 220,614
That population difference translates into an incredibly high murder rate (murders per 100,000 residents) for New Orleans when compared to the other cities. Here’s are the same ten cities is order of murder rates:
1. New Orleans, LA – 95
2. Baltimore, MD – 45
3. Detroit, MI – 44
4. Philadelphia, PA – 27
5. Houston, TX – 16
6. Dallas, TX – 16
7. Chicago, IL – 16
8. Phoenix, AZ – 14
9. Los Angeles, CA – 10
10. New York, NY – 6
Now, an important note: New Orleans officials dispute the US Census number for 2007. They say the US Census number is too low. One local estimate put the year end population of 2007 at 300,000.

Of course, in the case of a rapidly repopulating city, you can’t use December numbers for the entire year. The number I like to use for New Orleans’ 2007 population is 260,000, which is in the middle of the US Census estimate and the year end estimate. But even with the higher number of 260,000, New Orleans sits atop the murder rate list with a rate of 80 murders per 100,000 residents.

In fact, if you use the year end population of 300,000, New Orleans still is atop the above list with a murder rate of 70.

Another important note: the above list is not the top 10 murder rates in the country going by the FBI numbers. I am using the cities with the top 10 total murders and reordering them according to their murder rates. I do this because the total amount of murders is a concrete number, a “real” number. It doesn’t change when you factor in percentages. If 209 people are violently killed in your city, 209 people are dead whether you divide it by the total population or not.

Here are the cities with the top ten murder rates in 2007 (going by official US Census numbers):
1. New Orleans, LA – 95 (pop. 220,614)
2. Gary, IN – 73 (pop. 97,048)
3. Richmond, CA – 46 (pop. 102,471)
4. Baltimore, MD – 45 (pop. 624,237)
5. Detroit, MI – 44 (pop. 860,971)
6. St. Louis, MO – 40 (pop. 348,197)
7. Birmingham, AL – 38 (pop. 227,686)
8. Newark, NJ – 37 (pop. 280,158)
9. Baton Rouge – 31 (pop. 228,446)
10. Oakland, CA – 30 (pop. 396,541)
One more thing. If you use New Orleans' population before the storm of 454,000 with 2007’s murder count of 209, we get a murder rate of 46. That would have still put New Orleans tied with Richmond, CA, at #2 on the top 10 murder rate list.

My point: the murder rate is really high in New Orleans. It’s a problem, no matter what population numbers you use.

The FBI numbers I used can be found here.


Anonymous said...

Welcome back. See ya a t Rising Tide this year. I actually rely on you for keeping track of the murder rate so please keep it up.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Varg. *So* glad to have ya back!! Now, don't disappear again or else!

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