The Brennan Center released a report this week on crime and murder in the country with the headline “New Data: Crime and Murder Down in 2017” stating that “an analysis of new 2017 crime data shows that all measures of crime — overall crime, violence, and murder — are projected to decline this year.” I questioned some of the finding and methodology on twitter but thought it was important to expand on my problems with the report here.
NOPD released their unofficially official Uniform Crime Report statistics recently for the second quarter of 2017 and the numbers aren’t particularly pretty. Overall crime is up 11.9 percent relative to the first half of 2016 with a 9.2 percent increase in person crime (murder, rape, robbery and assault) and a 12.6 percent increase in property crime (burglary, theft and auto theft).
Back in May I wrote a post titled “The Pessimist’s Murder Forecast for the Rest of 2017 in NOLA.” It predicted doom and gloom based on the available data showing an unexplainable year-long spike in gun violence. Between June 24, 2016 and June 23, 2017 there were 720 people shot in 569 shooting incidents and 206 people murdered in New Orleans. Those totals were +44.1%, +44.3% and +31.2% respectively relative to the city’s average gun violence from 2013 to 2015.
That article concluded with an optimistic caveat though, saying:
“The main assumption driving the pessimist case is that the level of gun violence will continue at the rate of the last four months for the rest of the year. The case for optimism (or, more accurately, less pessimism) is that there’s no inherent reason the trend over the last four months has to continue over the next seven. Maybe things get worse, but maybe they get better and return to the 2014 to mid-2016 level.”
It is possible that the optimistic scenario is unexpectedly coming true in the latter half of 2017.
In December 2007 Kevin Unter wrote a dissertation titled “The New Orleans Police Department: Melding Police and Policy to Dramatically Reduce Crime in the City of New Orleans”. I was interested so I gave it a read and noticed he cited a 1984 history of NOPD that I couldn’t find anywhere else. I shot Kevin a note and he quickly responded that he had a copy in his basement somewhere (he no longer lives in Louisiana, obviously).
I open my mail a week later and find a copy of the 56-page history for my nerdy reading pleasure. The history was written by Ruth Asher (no relation) who served as a clerk with NOPD for over half a century.
If you’re interested I’ve uploaded the history for your nerdy reading pleasure History of the New Orleans Police Department (1984). Enjoy!
Much of the space of this blog is spent talking about trends that are changing for the negative, so it’s nice to write a post that solely highlights trends heading in a positive direction. Each of these three could probably get a fuller treatment, but I’m going to lump them together since I’ve had less time for blogging over the last few months. Continue reading “Three Positive NOLA Crime/Policing Trends”
The New Orleans mayoral election season is off and running and the early returns suggest that NOPD recruitment is likely to be a topic of interest. A recent NOLA.com editorial cited Forward New Orleans, a coalition of civic groups, calling for the next mayor to commit to growing NOPD by 50 officers.
Increasing NOPD’s size by 50 officers per year for several years is a worthy goal in my opinion, but our discussion should focus on new ways of growing the department because the current method simply is not solving the problem.
Louisiana freshman Senator John Kennedy made waves on Friday telling WVUE that “(Stop and Frisk) worked in New York. It’s the only way I know left to get the guns and thugs and dopes off the street. We got young people killing young people and now other citizens, and the reason is they got these guns, and until you get the guns you’re not going to stop it. The criticism of it is it’s racial profiling. No, not when it’s done correctly. When it’s done correctly, race has nothing to do with it.”
But Kennedy is wrong. New Orleans should want nothing to do with stop and frisk, and here’s why.
There have been 718 people shot in 568 shooting incidents and 205 people murdered in New Orleans over the last 365 days. If this were the end of the calendar year those figures would be by far the worst of the Landrieu administration.
As May comes to a close it is worthwhile to examine where New Orleans stands with UCR Part I crime. Previous posts have covered how I estimate UCR Part I crime counts and it’s worth noting that the city hasn’t published the first quarter crime official stats yet as of May 31. Continue reading “NOLA Crime YTD Update”