New Orleans ended the year with 155 murders. And while that’s still very high for a city of our size, it’s the least number of killings here in decades. Claire Galofaro of The New Orleans Advocate looked into this number, and what it really means for New Orleans. She talked with WWNO News Director Eve Troeh.
Galofaro notes New Orleans' murder rate remains more than eight times the national average, at about 40 murders per 100,000 people. In 2013 New Orleans is likely to remain in the top three cities for murder, along with Flint and Detroit, Michigan.
Local law enforcement and politicians are taking the lower number of murders as a success story, though. Galofaro says it's hard to quantify the impact of the city's increased crime prevention programs, like midnight basketball and job training. Many experts and officials point to a targeted law enforcement approach as a reason for the decrease. Criminologists she talked to said New Orleans has put away many of its most long-standing, dangerous criminals. With them off the streets, fewer killings occur.
Some factors that point to hope for reduced violence in the future? Better ACT scores and a lower high school dropout rate among New Orleans youth. However, it remains to be seen if this year's lower number of murders if part of a longer trend, or simply a one-off for 2013.