Two more murders in New Orleans overnight put the city on pace for 172 murders in 2016, the highest pace reached so far this year. The 125 murders so far in 2016 is slightly behind last year’s year to date total of 131, but a look ahead in the calendar strongly suggests the drop in murders relative to 2015 is about to get reversed.
There have been fewer murders in 2016 on every single day relative to a year ago when the city finished with 164 total murders. This year has not been within 5 murders YTD relative to 2015 since the end of January with the difference peaking at 28 murders on July 22nd. The gap has narrowed considerably since then as seen on the below graphs which shows the difference in murder for each day of 2016 relative to 2015.
Looking ahead, however, shows why this trend is reversing. On average about 35 to 36 percent of shooting incidents end in a fatality in New Orleans. Over 40 percent of shootings were ending in a fatality for the first six months of 2015 compared to just 28 percent for the first six months of 2016. An exceedingly violent summer has narrowed the gap between 2015 and 2016, and the gap will become even more narrow once we get to October.
There were only three murders in October 2015, the slowest murder month on record, but it wasn’t because shootings stopped. Instead only one of 24 shootings that month ended in a fatality as the percentage of shootings ending in a fatality regressed aggressively toward the expected mean.
It is very plausible that shootings will slow down, though the expectation remains that a high percentage of them will end in a fatality in the near future. If this happens then it can be expected that murders YTD in 2016 will pass murders YTD in 2015 sometime in the next six weeks just before the year’s stretch run decides how deadly 2016 will have been.