April 3, 2007, is 93 days into the year. In that period, New Orleans has seen 53 murders. That’s an average of one murder every 1.75 days. If that average stays the same all year, we will end 2007 with 208 murders. In a population of 223,000, that comes to a murder rate of 93 per 100,000 residents.
I use numbers like that on this blog all the time. I like numbers. Depending on how you look at them, they can tell all kinds of stories.
But, when it comes to murders, these are more than numbers. Look at the average. If it stays the same, 155 more people will die in New Orleans this year.
If something doesn’t change, 155 more people will die a violent death on the streets of New Orleans this year.
The good thing about these numbers (if there is a good thing) is that it is an average. We will not necessarily have a murder every 1.75 days for the rest of the year. We can change that.
The bad thing is anything we change will be too late for 53 people – both good and bad people. And I am not so optimistic that any change will come quickly.
I am also not optimistic that the current leadership *can* change anything. Look at the last 12 months’ murder statistics by quarters, from the NOPD and my count:
39 murders (April – May – June 2006)193 murders in the last four quarters.
53 murders (July – August – September 2006)
53 murders (October – November – December 2006)
48 murders (January – February – March 2007)
If you include the last two days, the total is 198 murders in the last four quarters plus April 1 and 2, 2007.
When not a lot has changed, why should we expect anything to change?