Fact checks are all the rage and so I decided to look at the comments Mr Landrieu made on crime in his State of the City address. For the most part they were accurate as shown on the scorecard on the bottom. I used the transcript found here as my source. On to the comments:
“In 2011, 55% of New Orleans murders were gang or group related. Now, we’ve cut that in half. Violent gangs are getting the message – stop shooting… or we are coming for you and we’re going to get you.”
True. There’s little publicly available raw data on gang shootings, but the data that has been released supports this assertion. In addition, charting shootings over 365 days (as in the below graph) shows the impact of gang indictments on citywide shootings. Gang shootings being down suggests they accounted for a significant minority of overall shootings prior to NOLA for Life’s implementation.
“Last year, crime was down.”
Partially true. The official crime statistics shows crime was down last year relative to 2014, but this was largely the result of longer response times artificially deflating crime numbers. Crime was down 5.8 percent from 2014 to 2015 according to the city’s official numbers but that followed a 32 percent rise in crime from 2010 to 2014.
“And half way through 2016 we are again on track to have the lowest number of murders since 1971.”
True. The 120 murders would be the lowest in terms of raw murders though the city had nearly 600,000 more residents at the time. In terms of murders per 100,000, therefore, the rate would still be 50 percent higher (roughly 30 per 100,000 in 2016 versus 20 per 100,000 in 1971). The last time New Orleans had a murder rate under 30 per 100,000 was 1985 (27 per 100,000). New Orleans finishing with 120 murders would likely put the city at #5 nationally in terms of murder rate for cities over 250,000. There’s a lot of time left in the year though.
“In fact, since we launched NOLA FOR LIFE in 2012, we’ve reduced murder more than any other similar peer city. That is good news.”
Mostly True – New Orleans has gone from 193 murders in 2012 to 164 in 2015, a 15 percent reduction. Only Philadelphia (-15.4%), New York City (-16%), Detroit (-23.6%) and Oakland (26.8%) had over 100 murders in 2011 and had bigger percentage drops. Only Philadelphia, Oakland and New York had bigger drops in average number of murders over three years from 2013 to 2015 compared with 2010 to 2012.
“That said, for the first quarter of 2016 some other crime has ticked back up – especially for armed robbery and carjacking.”
Mostly True. Crime was up about 10 percent in the first quarter of 2016 relative tot he first quarter of 2015 but that was largely because response times were significantly improved. As a result, crimes (property crimes in particular) that may have been marked ‘unfounded’ in 2015 were reached quicker and more likely to be counted as crimes. Response times worsened in the second quarter and crime is only up about 5 percent more than it was at this point last year.
Interestingly, armed robberies and carjackings are one area that is largely level (rather than up) compared to last year. There were only 4 more armed robberies in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the same point in 2015, and the numbers are nearly identical as of June 19th.
“And response times have been too slow. This is not acceptable. By moving dozens of officers from behind desks to the street and funding more overtime, together we’ve launched a nearly 100 officer surge on the street. We’re also working to ensure police officers are focused like a laser on violent crime and not on low level property crime, fender benders or false alarms.”
True. Steps have been taken to improve response times with pretty good progress in responding to emergency calls (below left) and much less progress against non-emergency calls (shown as overall calls below right).
The Final Tally