I’m fond of saying that each year’s story of armed robberies in New Orleans is written over the last quarter of the year. This is because there has been a surge in such crimes in October, November and December, especially in the last three years. It’s nice to report, therefore, that the story of 2017 is a much more positive one.
As of December 14th armed robberies and carjacking incidents are down 16 percent relative to the same point in 2016. That’s a fantastic trend and points to a large drop in 2017 will likely follow a small 4% dip from 2015 to 2016. For much of the year this did not seem like it would be the case but the last few months have seen a slowdown in robberies that the city hasn’t seen over the last few winters.
This trend can be seen even more clearly in the below graph. This graph shows average armed robberies per month from 2014 to 2016 in blue and 2017 in orange. Good things started to happen in September and that has carried through as the year hurtles towards a close.
Robberies rose citywide in 2014 as shown in the below graph. They peaked in 2015 and 2016 before coming down slightly in late 2016. The last few months represent the most substantial reduction in robberies here since late 2012.
Robberies are still running ahead of where they were from 2010 to 2013, but the city has 60,000 more residents today then it did in 2010. So adjusting by population shows the rate of robberies is basically flat relative to where it was from 2010 to 2013.
There’s no clear explanation for the drop in robberies though it’s hard not to largely credit NOPD’s Tiger unit for it. Arrests appear to be up slightly though not “through the roof”, but it’s certainly plausible that the unit’s focus on targeting repeat robbery offenders means there are fewer “sprees.”
Either way a win is a win and the drop in armed robberies makes for a good story that hopefully can be built upon entering 2018.