Violent crime in New Orleans in the first half of 2008 stayed flat when compared with the same period last year, say police statistics cited by the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Police Superintendent Warren Riley said total crime is down half of one percent when compared with the first half of last year. Violent crime dropped almost 2 percent and property crime stayed constant, with the exception of auto thefts, which have soared. The biggest shift occurred in the category of rape, which experienced a 27 percent drop.
Riley cited armed robberies as a continuing area of concern, up 16 percent because of a “horrific” first few months of the year, especially in the French Quarter. The robberies have slowed in recent months. Riley credited the recent drop to undercover operations and plainclothes detectives who arrested more than 40 suspected robbers. As for auto thefts, some valet parking employees may be tipping off or working with car thieves. Police issued half-year statistics using a per-capita model comparing the first half of 2008 with the same time last year, which takes into account the growth in population in the past year. In that aspect, violent crime has decreased 14 percent and property crimes lessened 13 percent. Police used a projected population of 324,357 for 2008. They used an estimated population of 283,661 for the first half of 2007.