New Orleans Sees 141% Increase In Murder

New Orleans Police Department

brahim Rabee no longer feels safe at his auto shop because of the increased violent crime in New Orleans.

Police records indicate that seven people have been killed within blocks of his store since the beginning of the year. Mr. Rabee said that customers often bring in their cars for repairs with handguns and semiautomatic rifles piled on the seats. Recently, a man with a gun threatened to shoot up an employee who refused to put air in his tire. He called 911 and an officer responded the next day after someone walked in with a gun and threatened to shoot up the store.

“I’m considering leaving,” said Mr. Rabee, who came to the United States from the Palestinian territories.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, violent crime has increased across the country. Data compiled by the Major Cities Chiefs Association, an association of police executives, shows that while crime has flattened in much of the country this year, it has continued to rise in several cities, including Dallas, Phoenix and New Orleans, according to data for the first half of this year.

Based on an analysis of the organization’s data gathered from most of the nation’s largest law enforcement departments, New Orleans has the highest homicide rate of any major city so far this year, with 41 homicides per 100,000 residents. For the same period, homicide rates were 11.5 in Chicago, 4.8 in Los Angeles, and 2.4 in New York City.

New Orleans’ homicide rate has increased 141% since the beginning of this year, according to the Metropolitan Crime Commission Inc., a nonprofit that works to reduce crime. The homicide rate is on the verge of surpassing last year’s rate, which was the worst since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 because shootings are up 100%, carjackings are up 210%, and armed robberies are up 25%.

Police pullbacks after racial-justice protests and a proliferation of guns are all potential factors contributing to the rise in violent crime across the U.S., according to criminologists and law enforcement officials.

It is believed that an overburdened police department is a major cause of crime in New Orleans. Ronal Serpas, who served as the city’s police superintendent from 2010 to 2014 and is now a professor of criminal justice at Loyola University New Orleans, estimates that the city has between 50% and 60% of the officers needed to provide adequate protection.

“We’re in a crisis of crime and a crisis of confidence in this city,” he said.

The department has been hampered in part by fallout from a decade-old agreement between the federal government and the city to address corruption and other issues, according to police officers and political leaders, including Democratic Mayor LaToya Cantrell. The city cannot replace the officers who leave the force more quickly than they can replace them, which makes it easier for criminals to operate there.

“The criminals are more brazen and bold,” said New Orleans Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson. “They believe that they won’t be punished.”

The police department is stretched so thin that it’s taking 2.5 hours to respond to 911 calls on average. The department says that time is much shorter during very serious emergencies.

As a result of the city’s inability to address the crime wave, divisions are growing among civic, business, and community leaders and some business owners and residents are leaving-a spiral that worsens the problem.

For more on this story, please consider these sources:

  1. New Orleans Has America’s No. 1 Murder Rate. ‘We’re in a Crisis.’ – The Wall Street Journal
  2. New Orleans not safe enough for Starbucks: Canal St location closing due to security concerns – 2 WBRZ
  3. In 9 months of 2022, New Orleans surpasses total number of homicides in all of 2020 – FOX 8
John Nightbridge is a veteran reporter, researcher, and economic policy major from UCLA. Passionate about world issues and potential ways to solve them is a significant focus of his work. Writing freelance and reading the news are John's passions at work. Outside of work, it's all about sky diving, surfing, and stock market modeling.