New Orleans is having a bad year in terms of gun violence. The city just had its 168th murders, four more than all of 2016, and the 450 shooting incidents so far are more than any of the previous six full years other than 2011.
Looking at the rolling count of shootings over 365 days paints a similarly grim picture with 477 shooting incidents in New Orleans between December 13, 2015 and December 12, 2016. The rise in New Orleans gun violence began toward the end of the first half of 2016. Through the end of June there were 205 shooting incidents in New Orleans, largely in line with the 199, 224 and 208 incidents through June 2015, 2014 and 2013 respectively.
Since July began, however, New Orleans has had 245 shooting incidents which is just one below the 246 in the first half of 2011 for the worst six month stretch since 2011. And there are still 2.5 weeks to go this year!
Breaking down the shootings by NOPD district gives some idea of where the rise in gun violence is occurring, namely NOPD’s 5th and 7th Districts. It’s not particularly surprising that the 5th (Seventh Ward, St Roch, Ninth Ward) and 7th (New Orleans East) are violent, those two districts have had the most or second most shootings in each of the last three years.
The difference is just how much more violent those two districts have been than the city’s other six police districts.The below table breaks down combined shootings in the 5th and 7th districts versus the combined shootings in all of the other districts. There are still 2.5 weeks left in 2016, but the second half of this year has seen 124 shootings in the 5th and 7th districts and just 121 in all of the rest. That’s the first time those two districts have outpaced the other six. In general when violence increases in one district it has increased everywhere else, but since July New Orleans has seen a 50+ percent jump in violence in the 5th and 7th with virtually no change everywhere else (it’s worth noting that these numbers will increase as the year closes out).
Figuring out where the surge is happening is step one. Next we have to figure out why it’s happening.