by Sam Winston
There have been 211 homicides in New Orleans according to John Gagliano of the Orleans Parish Coroner's Office on Monday. Do the numbers and it's clear that New Orleans is the murder capital of the U.S.A for the second year in a row at.
Despite having the National Guard, and intensive federal law enforcement assistance to the NOPD from the FBI, ATF, and DEA for most of the year, there is no difference in the murder rate from 2006 when New Orleans outpaced the nation's next closest violent city by 31 percent or more.
This won't be announced officially until sometime next year when all the FBI data is in and the year is so far gone that the announcement has much less of an impact. Until then, "plausible denials" are possible but not convincing.
Last year New Orleans had anywhere from a 63.5 killings per 100,000 people of the population (standard way to measure murder rate ratio) to a 96 killings per 100,00 depending on how you account for the city's fluctuating population. It was more likely to be around 72 if you take the average population of 2006. The second highest ranking city, Gary, Indiana was at 48.3 and Detroit at 47.1 in 2006.
Taking the numbers for New Orleans this year, including the current population, estimated to be around 301,800 according the latest measure at the Greater New Orleans Data Center (Census data is lower, Nagin's guesses are higher), and the current homicide total of 211, you have is a 69.9 homicide rate. That would be pretty much the same as 2006 in New Orleans. Unless there are some astronomical increases in the rates of Detroit or Gary, Indiana, and no matter how generous you are with the New Orleans population, it would also mean that New Orleans is once again the murder capital in 2007.
Number rankings and semantics aside, it is troubling that after a year of extreme violence in 2006, nothing has changed in 2007.