New Orleans’ murder tally for 2008 stood at 179, about 15 percent fewer killings than in the previous year, says the city’s Times Picayune. The a drop of 31 murders from the 210 recorded in 2007 owed in part to a marked decrease in killings during the year’s last two months. Despite the decrease, New Orleans remains one of the most violent U.S. cities.
Reasons for the decline are not entirely clear. Police have not drastically changed tactics but the number of officers is up from 1,370 officers to 1,500, and there have been 12-hour patrol shifts for most of the year. Superintendent Warren Riley said community outreach efforts and a crime prevention unit have encouraged witnesses to come forward. Tactical units have pinpointed and steadily patrolled 11 high-crime crime areas, quelling crime, he said. He credited the homicide unit in making quick arrests to thwart retaliatory shootings. The shifting population makes the per-capita murder rate difficult to nail down. Murders also declined in several other cities, including Cleveland. See this report in the Cleveland Plain Dealer: http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2009/01/cleveland_homicides_down_25_pe.html