A couple of recent WWL-TV stories highlighted a new crime prevention group in Lakeview, formed in response to a perceived uptick in crime in the neighborhood. This presents a great opportunity to see if perception matches the data. My analysis shows that while crime in Lakeview has risen relative to 2014 levels, crime in the neighborhood remains below its average from 2011 to 2013.
For the purpose of this analysis, crimes are counted based on the previously defined Person and Property crime definitions. Accumulated Calls for Service totals were used to analyze changing trends in the neighborhood. Lakeview’s rectangular shape makes the neighborhood easy to analyze using the method laid out here. For the sake of full disclosure, the author is a Lakeview resident.
Summarizing Crime in Lakeview
Lakeview has recorded just 0.7 percent of the overall crime in New Orleans between 2011 and the end of July 2015, even though the neighborhood has about 2.2 percent of the city’s population. Breaking down crimes by type, Lakeview experiences almost exclusively property crimes (burglary, theft and auto theft) rather than crimes against persons (murder, assault, robbery and rape).
Lakeview has averaged a total of about 114 Person and Property crimes per year between 2011 and 2015. The data show that crime is on pace to rise approximately 15.1 percent in 2015 as compared to 2014.
This rise, if realized in 2015, would follow consecutive years of declining crime in the neighborhood. The changing pace of crime in Lakeview is shown in the chart below.
One notable recent crime trend has been an increase in auto thefts in Lakeview in 2015. The neighborhood averaged 12 auto thefts per year between 2011 and 2014, yet there have already been 13 auto thefts through the first seven months of 2015.
Comparing Lakeview to the Rest of NOLA
Compared to 2011, crime was relatively steady in Lakeview in 2012 and 2013 before dropping significantly in 2014. The current level of crime in the neighborhood is approximately 20 percent below where it was at the end of 2011 despite the increase from 2014 to 2015. Lakeview’s crime patterns stand in stark contrast to the rest of New Orleans’ — in a good way — as shown in the chart below.
This chart shows how the pace of crime in Lakeview and the rest of the city has changed relative to where each stood at the end of 2011 (when Lakeview was already among the city’s safest neighborhoods). As can be seen, Lakeview avoided the dramatic rise in citywide crime that occurred in 2014, when citywide crime rose nearly 20 percent.
The below table tracks changes in the number of crimes per estimated Lakeview resident since 2011. The population totals compare the 2010 census figure for Lakeview with a 2015 estimate compiled by Advocate reporter John Simerman using Data Center research. The table assumes a linear growth for every year between 2010 and 2015 and highlights the degree to which Lakeview’s growth has not been accompanied by a similar increase in crime.
Comparing crime per person in Lakeview to crime in the rest of New Orleans accentuates the neighborhood’s differences. Crime in the rest of New Orleans has occurred — on average — relatively steadily from 2011 to 2014 at a rate of 22.59 people per crime as shown in the chart below . Crime in Lakeview, therefore, has been occurring at roughly one-fourth the rate as the rest of New Orleans since the start of 2014.
All neighborhoods in New Orleans experience crime to one degree or another, and Lakeview is no exception. Although crime has increased this year, the neighborhood is experiencing less crime both in total and on a per-capita basis than it did between 2011 and 2013. Auto thefts do appear to be rising in 2015, but the fact that Lakeview managed to avoid the steep jump in crime that most of the city saw in 2014 suggests that crime prevention efforts in the area have largely worked to date.
This post was previously published by The New Orleans Advocate.