Wednesday, May 10, 2006

It Could Be Worse

There have been 20 murders in Minneapolis so far this year. Much further down the river, New Orleans has commonly been associated with the worst of the worst, and is now finding itself getting back to form post-Katrina - they have 30 murders through April.

By comparison, 20 murders sounds "good", but if you consider the competition, we're not all that far apart, especially if you adjust for population differences. New Orleans has historically had more population than Minneapolis, although their numbers decreased significantly following the hurricane. It's probably not a fair comparison between the two cities, but Minneapolis seems intent on closing the gap (and on a "per-person" basis has exceeded New orleans in many cases - see chart below).

(Hat tip to Rambix reader Robert G.)

The Red Star reports: "In New Orleans, murders and shootings increasing".

NEW ORLEANS - Murder is making a comeback in New Orleans.

The city had 30 murders this year through April. That is less than half of the 81 recorded during the first four months of 2005. But New Orleans' population these days is less than half of what it was before Hurricane Katrina.
Police officials deem the city safe. Have we heard this recently about Minneapolis?

New Orleans Police Superintendent Warren Riley insisted at a news conference last week that murders and other violent crimes per person -- that is, crime figures that take the reduced population into account -- are down from a year ago. But that was based on January-through-March figures.

"This city is still the safest it has ever been," Riley said.
If the city is the safest it's ever been, that's trouble.

The criminals fled, but now they're coming back:

"Since April began we've had the return of individuals who have a legacy of violent crimes," said Jim Bernazzani, the FBI agent in charge of New Orleans. "Prior to the storm they were residing in areas that are now uninhabitable. So they are returning to the 20 percent of the city that did not flood and they are running into violent criminals whose turf it is."
This appears to be another parallel to Minneapolis - violent criminals and gangsters coming into the city and setting up their turf. Mayhem ensues.

New Orleans has much higher numbers of crimes according to the raw data, but look at the comparisons "per 100,000" people (For 2004 - latest numbers available):

To look at the actual "per 100,000 people" numbers and the raw numbers, go to this link. It's eye-opening and explains a lot about what's going on in Minneapolis.