There has been a definite uptick in armed robberies in New Orleans over the last week at a time of year when they typically pick up steam. Indeed there were 33 armed robbery and carjacking incidents in the six days from October 28 to November 2, the worst such stretch since a brutal Memorial Day weekend spree produced 39 incidents between May 28 and June 2.

But where does that leave us for the year?

Comparing armed robbery and carjacking incidents in 2016 to past years shows this year roughly in the middle of 2014 & 2015’s totals and well ahead of 2012 & 2013’s. As of November 2nd there had been 13 percent fewer armed robbery and carjacking incidents in New Orleans compared to YTD 2015 and 7.3 percent fewer compared to YTD 2014. On the flip side, there had been 25.6 percent more such incidents relative to YTD 2013 and 20.6 percent more relative to YTD 2012.

As I’ve previously noted, armed robberies can be a tricky thing to measure because the ratio of armed to simple (no weapon) robberies appears to fluctuate randomly and can lead to big jumps in armed crimes with little or no change in overall robberies. Indeed simple robberies are up slightly relative to 2015’s total, but overall robberies really are down as shown in the below table.

Year (through Nov 2) Simple Armed Total
2010 312 540 852
2011 286 555 841
2012 336 576 912
2013 405 551 956
2014 409 741 1150
2015 340 787 1127
2016 352 683 1035

One final way of visualizing the change in robberies is the below graph of armed and simple robbery incidents over 365 days. There has been a steady drop in robberies throughout 2016. It’s worth noting, however, that change is slow to show up when measuring crimes over a full year, so if the tide has turned in the last week that won’t be readily apparent for a little while.

The likelihood is that robberies will drop in New Orleans in 2016 for the first time in many years. It’s a positive development but it’s important to note how far robberies in New Orleans rose between 2010-2013 and 2014-2015. A small drop in 2016 is a good sign but it will take several years of sustained reductions to reach robbery levels from earlier in the decade.