I’m fond of saying that each year’s story of armed robberies in New Orleans is written over the last quarter of the year. This is because there has been a surge in such crimes in October, November and December, especially in the last three years. It’s nice to report, therefore, that the story of 2017 is a much more positive one. Continue reading “NOLA Armed Robberies Are Down Bigly”
A lot of things can happen when a bullet leaves a gun and my general contention for a while has been that the final outcome of whether a person is hit and whether that shooting is fatal or non-fatal is often random. Given enough incidents over time the randomness will tend to even out, but there can be great variations from day to day and from month to month. Measuring these variations using firearm discharge reports can help determine when New Orleans has gotten “lucky” and “unlucky” which might suggest when our luck will flip.
It has been a while since my last post here and for that I apologize. Personal developments combined with a slowdown in crime and gun violence and a series of national articles for FiveThirtyEight led to less stuff to write about in NOLA.
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.