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Deaths by Violent Crime


  Violent crime is killing someone every two days in New Orleans so far this year. Mayor Ray Nagin's promise four years ago to end the cycle of violence that caused angry citizens to march on City Hall appears destined to go unfulfilled by the time he and NOPD Chief Warren Riley leave office on May 3. There were 34 homicides as of noon on March 10 — compared to 33 at the same time last year, according to the Orleans Parish Coroner Chief Investigator John Gagliano. In addition, despite widespread assumptions to the contrary, the Saints' thrilling Super Bowl victory on Feb. 7 and the largely peaceful Carnival season that ended Feb. 16 had no real effect on the murder rate, says Tulane University criminologist Peter Scharf. "It was a time of good feeling, but there was no [effect] on the killings that occurred almost daily on our city streets," Scharf says. NOPD figures show the city finished 2009 with 174 murders — five fewer than the 179 recorded in 2008. However, the coroner's office reported 190 "homicides" in 2009 — three more than the 187 tallied in 2008. NOPD's murder count is lower than the coroner's "homicide" count because the murder rate does not include justifiable homicides and other forms of violent death that the coroner's office classifies as homicides. — Allen Johnson Jr.

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