There are still a few days left in the second quarter of 2016 and we’ll have to wait about a week to have an estimate of New Orleans UCR Part I crime over that timeframe. That said, it’s likely that the city will be roughly 5 percent ahead of where it was through two quarters of 2015. This would actually represent a 3 percent drop in crime from the first quarter of 2016, suggesting that crime went down. Analyzing the total number of calls, however, suggests that crime was actually up 5.5 percent from the first to second quarter. So what accounts for the difference?
As I wrote in March, crime was up 10 percent in the first quarter of 2016 relative to the first quarter of 2015 largely because response times were substantially better. That improvement did not hold over the second quarter of 2016 though, and crime went down as response times went up.
That relationship is clearly shown in the below graph which measures the percent of UCR Part I calls that are marked ‘Report to Follow’ or RTF over a week versus the percent marked RTF, ‘Unfounded’ (UNF), or ‘Gone on Arrival’ (GOA) in the blue line. The red line represents the average response time for UCR Part I calls over a week.
Both response times and the percent of calls marked RTF were stable over most of the first quarter, but response times (red line) went up over the second quarter and the percent of calls marked RTF (blue) went down from around 80 percent to around 70 percent. Calls marked RTF mean an officer reached the scene, a victim was there and he or she took a report, so the more calls marked RTF the better. All told that accounts for the difference between the observed 3 percent drop in crime and the expected 5 percent rise in crime.