Violent crime in New Orleans continues to increase more than does the city’s population, says the New Orleans Times-Picayune. New statistics show a slight shift downward in murder, rapes, and robberies compared with the last three months of 2006. Violent crime was up 107 percent compared with the same period last year.
Even using the most recent — and generous — population estimate of 255,000 people, the city is on track to have an annual rate of 75 murders per 100,000 people. In the last full year before Katrina, the city had a per capita murder rate of 56 per 100,000 people. Historically crime is lower each year in the first quarter and trends upward in later months, said Peter Scharf, a New Orleans-based criminologist currently teaching at Texas State University. “You are 182 percent higher (in murders) than last year with a population that hasn’t grown at that rate,” Scharf said. “I’m a fan of New Orleans. I don’t want the murder rate to be high.”