Crime, that old menace of the old New Orleans, is back, and it’s bedeviling a city trying to recover from Hurricane Katrina, reports USA Today. There have been 147 people killed in New Orleans this year, police say, down from 204 by this time in 2005. But the city’s population is about half what it was before Katrina flooded 80% of the city, forcing an almost-complete evacuation.
That means New Orleanians are murdering each other at a rate of 73.5 murders per 100,000 residents, higher than that of the nation’s most murderous city, Compton, Calif. Because many traditionally violent areas remain nearly empty, crime has moved to upscale areas such as the French Quarter, leaving residents with one more reason to question their decision to remain in the city. “This is a city out of control,” says one longtime resident. A police official said 70% of the murders are drug-related, but there’s an upswing in a new kind of crime: brutal, domestic violence that he attributes to the stress of living in post-Katrina New Orleans.