Murder Rate Down, But Other Crimes Are on the Rise in New Orleans

Louisiana Weekly


From the Louisiana Weekly and reprinted by our content partner New America Media:



You’re more likely to be raped, robbed or become a theft victim than to become a murder victim in New Orleans, according to crime statistics released last week by the New Orleans Police Department.


According to a news release from the NOPD, New Orleans experienced a 27.91 percent drop in murders during the first quarter of 2014 compared to last year’s data.


During the first three months of 2014, there were 31 murders, 51 rapes, 253 armed robberies, 117 simple robberies and 467 assaults, compared with 43 murders, 31 rapes, 152 armed robberies, 81 simple robberies and 358 assaults during the same period in 2013.


Murder is down in the first quarter of 2014 by 27.9 percent, rape is up 64.5 percent, armed robbery is up 66 percent, simple burglary is up 44 percent and assault is up 31 percent.


The NOPD, which is undergoing the implementation of sweeping, federally mandated reforms, said in a news release last week that the “statistics represent a continued downward trend in murder and show that the number of murders in New Orleans is at a historic nearly 30-year low.”


“Reducing the number of murders on the streets of our city is a top priority, and we are continuing to make significant progress,” NOPD Super­in­ten­dent Ronal Ser­pas told WWL-TV.


To his credit, Serpas did not shy away from discussing the city’s growing rape problem.


“Sexual assaults are among the most heinous crimes and our Sex Crimes Unit has made it a priority to make sure anyone who commits this crime is brought to justice,” Serpas said. “These statistics continue to show that more victims are coming forward than ever before and that people believe our department can and will get these offenders off the streets.”


Despite the police chief’s determination to rescue the number of rapes committed in New Orleans, a recent report accused the NOPD of misclassifying rapes


In March, during a hearing on crime in City Council Chambers, one resident told the council how he acted to prevent a rape that was in progress, only for the police to never show up after he and the intended victim waited for hours.



Several recent reports, one by the Office of Inspector General and the other by the Metropolitan Crime Commission criticized the NOPD’s leadership for being top-heavy and mismanaging its available personnel. The OIG report called reports of a NOPD manpower shortage inaccurate and said the department needs to free up cops working in office settings to patrol the streets of New Orleans. The MCC report said there is in fact a manpower shortage but that the force could still better utilize its officers.


A third report, filed recently by NOPD consent-decree federal monitor Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, said that the NOPD has “a long way to go” before it is compliant with federal guidelines.


“You don’t have to tell anyone who has been on the streets talking to the people that the NOPD still has a long way to go,” the Rev. Raymond Brown, a community activist and president of National Action Now, told The Louisiana Weekly. “People’s rights are still being violated and the officers are still using excessive force — right under the nose of the U.S. Department of Justice.”


A recent edition of local cable-access show “OurStory,” video footage was shown of police doing traffic stops in a Black neighborhood.



“Where are the similar stops being done in white neighborhoods?” “OurStory” host W.C. Johnson, a member of Community United for Change, said. “CUC will continue to work with the community to monitor the NOPD’s interaction with residents and watch closely as the federal monitor oversees implementation of the NOPD consent decree.”


For three years, CUC hosted community meetings and forums which brought together DOJ officials and members of the community whose loved ones were victimized by members of the NOPD. Those meetings ultimately led to federal charges filed against NOPD officers involved in the Danziger Bridge shootings and the murder of Henry Glover. Since then, CUC has worked to prepare its members and residents for work on a Civilian Oversight Committee designed to “police the police” and ensure that the police no longer get away with unconstitutional policing.


Read the rest of the article here.


Additional reporting by Louisiana Weekly editor Edmund W. Lewis.


This article originally published in the June 23, 2014 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

not popular
Wikipedia Commons
Bottom Slider: 
Out Slider