Friday, September 09, 2005

Violent Crime Stats

Hugh Hewitt throws out a good question:

New Orleans had 4,668 violent crimes committed within its borders in 2004. (HT: Palos Verdes Blog)

Given this level of violent crime, was it not completely foreseeable that absent a major National Guard and police presence deployed in the city after the storm came through that there would be destructive looitng and mayhem of a far more serious type?

FEMA does not deploy the local police, and does not activate the National Guard. (That's for the benefit of CNN's Jack Cafferty.)

My first thought was 4668/365 = 12 or 13 violent crimes per day. That sounds fairly high to me. But then I live in upper middle class suburbia where somebody stealing a candy bar is the crime of the century. I went to look at some cities, starting with nearby Denver to compare to New Orleans. The fed stats below are from the year 2000 but one assumes that the trends are similar in the last few years across most of the country.

New Orleans: population 484,674 - violent crimes 5,330 - per 100K = 1,099
Denver: population 554,636 - violent crimes 2,885 - per 100K = 520
San Jose: population 894,943 - violent crimes 4,928 - per 100K = 551
East Palo Alto: pop 29,506 - violent crimes 287 - per 100K = 957
New York City (all): pop 8,008,278 - violent crimes 75,745 - per 100K = 946
Washington D.C.: pop 563,384 - violent crimes not shown, how wierd

So New Orleans violent crime rate is similar to New York (a city 16 times bigger) and East Palo Alto, CA (which not long ago was the murder capital of the US several years running until Menlo Park police moved in and a convicted drug addict was elected Mayor of D.C.). Looks like New Orleans had a serious crime problem as far back as 2000 and it hadn't gotten better.

Would you assume that the some of the lesser citizens of Harlem wouldn't try to take advantage of a natural disaster to prey upon their neighbors? I would guess New York city cops would react a little differently though.


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