Murders are on the rise in the U.S., but most Americans aren’t seeing the increase because most of it is being driven by surges in violence in a handful of cities, like Chicago and New Orleans, reports NPR. New Orleans is an especially disappointing case because the city had made significant progress in pushing down its murder rate. Starting in 2012, it implemented a targeted anti-gang violence effort called “NOLA for Life,” which led to a 20 percent year-to-year decrease in murders. That changed last summer. “There’s been a dramatic increase in gun violence that started in July of 2016, got significantly worse in October and November and then has continued to get worse in the first eight weeks of 2017,” says Jeff Asher, a New Orleans crime analyst.
The fact that New Orleans has been so quick this year to reach its 100th shooting victim is just one symptom of the severity of what’s going on in the city. Another is the sense of routine at the scene of the shooting where that milestone was reached. A common refrain in New Orleans is that murder rate here is high, but it’s mostly a small group of people who are killing each other. This line of thinking is meant to make it easier to live in cities like New Orleans, but it also happens to be the insight at the heart of the strategy that helped the city push down its murder rate — at least for a few years: Most homicides are committed by a small percentage of the population.