In the mayoral race between New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Louisiana Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu, Nagin believes the city is on the right track in combating its historically high crime rate, while Landrieu is frustrated that violence has been creeping back as the city repopulates, says the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Recent first-quarter crime statistics show that violent crime is again on the upswing after an unprecedented lull on the heels of Katrina. During the last three months of 2005, only 115 violent crimes were reported, a figure that more than doubled in the first three months of 2006 to 364. While there were only 17 killings in the first three months of 2006, there were 13 in April, a figure that matches the pre-Katrina murder rate on a per capita basis.
Looking at the first quarter of 2006 compared to the same period of 2005, and using high-end estimates of the city's current population, the murder rate appears to be down. Isolating the month of April, and using lower estimates of the population, New Orleans apparently has returned to its infamous ranking as one of the nation's most murderous cities. Nagin would retain Police Superintendent Warren Riley, who was elevated to the top spot under Eddie Compass who was nudged aside by Nagin just four weeks after Hurricane Katrina. Landrieu said the incumbent chief would have to earn the post by beating out other candidates in a national search. Landrieu said he would choose his top cop with input from national law enforcement leaders, the local FBI chief, U.S. Attorney, and community groups.