New Orleans Steals the Title From St. Louis, Is Now America’s Murder Capital

You thought Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago were bad, but it’s actually the “Big Easy” that is the most dangerous, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis released Friday. New Orleans’ homicide rate is up a whopping 141% since the beginning of the year compared to the same period last year; meanwhile, shootings are up 100 percent, carjackings 210 percent, and armed robberies 25 percent. It is the highest murder rate the city has seen since the dark days of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The Journal brings us the sobering statistics:

“New Orleans had the highest homicide rate of any major city so far this year, with about 41 homicides per 100,000 residents, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of the organization’s data, collected from most of the nation’s largest law-enforcement departments. The homicide rate was 11.5 in Chicago, 4.8 in Los Angeles and 2.4 per 100,000 in New York City for the same period.”

What is going on here?

While it’s tempting to blame the city’s crime woes on “defund the police,” in this case, it’s more complicated than that. Hurricane Katrina did enormous damage to the city’s infrastructure, causing major instability and violence. In response, then-Mayor Mitch Landrieu called for a two-year police department hiring freeze, which the city has still not fully recovered from. He also called in the Justice Department, leading to the city signing a Consent Decree, which reads:

“The NOPD Consent Decree is the result of an extensive investigation of the NOPD conducted by the United States Department of Justice. The investigation was conducted with the full cooperation of the City of New Orleans and the NOPD, and the resulting Consent Decree is a product of a cooperative effort by all parties.”

In other words, the Justice Department will breath down your neck and scrutinize your every move looking for civil rights violations. The result? Cops are scared to do their jobs, and new recruits are hard to come by. Mayor LaToya Cantrell says the “bureaucratic demands it imposes add to the workload and contributed to declines in morale and manpower.” The city has recently requested a release from the decree, a matter which is still in litigation.

From Daily Mail:

New Orleans is facing a police staffing crisis, with the department under 1,000 cops for the first time in modern history, down from more than 1,300 a few years ago.

The city is losing about 100 officers a year to retirement and resignation, around 10 percent of the current force of 989, said City Council President Helena Moreno in July.

‘You cannot operate a department that’s made for roughly 1,400 officers when it has less than a thousand,’ Moreno said at a city council meeting, according to WWL-TV.

New Orleans is one of America’s great cities, full of history and mystery, and Spanish moss. There’s a reason author Ann Rice set her beloved Interview With the Vampire series in the centuries-old metropolis. Today it is considered the “home of jazz” and is host to the wild Mardi Gras (also known as “Fat Tuesday”) parade every spring. (I’ve been, and if you’re fortunate enough to come home in one piece, consider yourself lucky.)

I hope N’awlins figures this out eventually because I think we’d all rather see it be the jazz, party, and vampire capital than the murder capital.

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