November has been a bad month in terms of New Orleans gun violence no matter how you slice it and we’re only 20 days in. Consider:
- There have been 38 shooting incidents (12 fatal) in 20 days.
- Those 38 shooting incidents led to 13 people being fatally shot. Add in a non-gun murder earlier in the month and there have been 14 murders in 20 days of November.
- The last 30 days have seen 53 shootings.
Put it all together and the first 20 days of November have put New Orleans on pace for 463 shootings and 179 murders in 2016. The shooting total, if realized, would be the worst on record (disclaimer: my record starts in 2010) barely eclipsing the 462 incidents in 2011. The 179 murders would be the worst here since 2012 and represent a 19.3 percent increase from 2014’s 40 year low.
Indeed, tracking the number of shootings over 365 days shows how the recent jump places us into territory not seen since 2011/2012 before the start of NOLA for Life.
Unfortunately the evidence does not suggest that “bad luck” is to blame for the impending rise in murder. Comparing firearm discharges to expected shootings does suggest that the expected number of shootings over the last 365 days is slightly lower than the observed result.
In other words, New Orleans has had 462 shootings over the last year but should have had closer to 443. That suggests the current level of gun violence may not be fully sustainable over the long run, but not by much. 443 shootings in a year would be equal to what New Orleans saw in 2012, a year with 193 murders.
While shootings would be expected to slow down slightly, the percent of shootings that are fatal is expected to increase over the medium to long term. The below chart shows the percent of shootings that are fatal over 365 days (red line) compared to the rolling overall average percent since the start of 2010.
As of today only 139 of 411 shooting incidents in 2016 have been fatal (33.8 percent). On average 35.4 percent of shootings have been fatal since the start of 2010. So a slight drop in shootings in 2017 could be met with a higher percent of fatal shootings leading to similar or higher murder numbers next year.
It would be nice to see murder go down in 2017 but the data provide no reasonable explanation to expect such a change absent a successful new policy or law enforcement strategy.