Monday, March 12, 2007

More On the Murder Rate

Somebody who actually knows what they are talking about weighs in:
A new study by a Tulane University professor puts New Orleans' murder rate as the highest in the country.

The study estimates the city's 2006 murder rate at 96 per every 100,000 people.


The new study, by demographer Mark VanLandingham, aims to fix the main flaw in previous per capita murder estimates for 2006: It takes into account the large change in New Orleans' population during the year, with far fewer people in the city at the beginning of 2006 than at the end. That change raises the murder rate substantially.

For instance, using the highest static population estimate VanLandingham found in his research, 201,000, would produce a murder rate of about 80 per 100,000 people, still significantly lower than the new study's conclusion.
Apparently, I was being optimistic when I used a population of 200,000 New Orleans residents.

VanLandingham’s and my conclusions are about the same. The New Orleans murder rate is really high.

I don’t think it is fair to count the first quarter of 2006 because the city’s population was changing so much. That’s why I think it gives us a better view of how bad the problem is and how it continues to be a problem by counting from the second quarter of 2006 to today. In that (almost) 12-month period, I calculated a murder rate of 91 per 100,000 residents (based on a New Orleans population of 200,000, which VanLandingham views as on the high end of the estimates). Of course, my number also assumes that no more murders will happen in March.

I was surprised when I read the T-P article and found that my assumption of a New Orleans population of 200,000 was optimistic:
The New Orleans Emergency Operations Center conducted three separate estimates, with the most recent theorizing that about 181,000 people resided in New Orleans at the end of January 2006, Stone said.

Other estimates have varied greatly. The U.S. Census Bureau's population estimate for Jan. 1, 2006, was 158,000. The Louisiana Public Health Institute estimated that the city boasted a population of about 201,000 between June and October.

Several demographers interviewed said the number is likely lower. Conservative estimates put the population under 200,000.
If New Orleans population today is 180,000, then our murder rate so far in 2007 (37 murders in 71 days) is 105 per 100,000 residents. Wow.

As I said in my last post on the murder rate, we are trending high. That is what worries me. It is possible to have a spate of violent incidents that could be considered an aberration, which would skew the numbers higher making the city seem more violent than it is.

Looking over the past four quarters of violent crime statistics, the number of murders per population is consistently high. There are no aberrations. For her population, New Orleans is a very violent city.

That, and about a hundred other things, is what worries me.


TravelingMermaid said...

Last evening I just barely caught someone on the local news stating the crime is mostly criminals killing criminals. (sorry I don't have specifics)

Do they think that makes it ok?
It doesn't make me feel ok about it.

Maitri said...

It was Sgt. Joe Narcisse of NOPD. Something to the effect of "it's not the good people being affected, but the bad people killing each other."

'Cuz it makes me feel so much better to know that two "bad guys" were shot in the leg in my neighborhood by other "bad guys." What the hell are they doing there in the first place?

bayoustjohndavid said...

Narcisse disgusted me several ways with his statement that tourists didn't need to worry because the violent crime is all bad guys killing bad guys. First, of course, is the moral bankruptcy of the statement itself, even if it were true. Secondly, there's not a neighborhood in the city without innocent bystanders. Even if he was just trying to reassure tourists on the eve of a major event, he wasn't being honest. It's not unheard of for tourists to walk from the Quarter to City Park -- I occasionally pass tourists at Esplanade and Broad. Finally, the violent crime isn't limitted to murder, even if the reporting is. When Ronald Martin finally made the news, it was said that he was a suspect in similar attacks. If the couple hadn't known people who made how many more
such attacks would have occurred before it made the news? Take your pick, which is worse, the callousness of the excuse or the dishonesty?

jeffrey said...

Furthermore it promotes the idea that there are parts of the city people just shouldn't go into.. and that that is somehow tolerable. Who wants to live in a place like that?

Mr. Clio said...

I think the callousness is worse.

But hey, if you look at things like that, NOPD's job is easy. There are GOOD people and BAD people.

GOOD people require no work from NOPD, and BAD people just require someone to come behind them and clean up the mess.

There's real work in discerning the difference, though, and unfortunately the world is a little more complex. Apparently Mr. Narcisse can't handle that, or the work implicit in that.

TravelingMermaid said...

The whole "bad guys killing bad guys" mentality is fundamentally wrong and morally bankrupt. None of us should have to live in a city with this unacceptable amount of crime no matter who is perpetrator or victim.
EVEN the bad guys have families who mourn their can't choose your relatives or control their actions.

MAD said...

Yes, the murder rate is high, but the city is far safer now than it was in the middle 1990s. I don't feel unsafe; in fact, I feel much safer walking the streets now than I did pre-K.

Miffed By Murder said...

You must be mad.

Even if I were oblivious to the army of street thugs all over the city, the rampant crack dealing and whoring, the ubiquitous petty crime, and the fact that suddenly everyone I know has had a friend shot, killed, or stabbed for merely being outside...the statistics speak loudly and clearly: this is one of the most violent times in one of America's most consistently violent cities.

Which is why I'm eager to get my concealed carry permit in the mail any day now.

Anyway, the reason I'm posting is to ask if anyone has a map of the murders in 2006. Some girls I know are looking for a neighborhood to move to where they won't have to cope with murders nearby on a regular basis, and I figured a composite map of 2006 and 2007 murders around New Orleans would be helpful to them.

My sincere thanks to anyone who can help!

Miffed By Murder