Murder up, but down per capita in New Orleans

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 31, 2009

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The murder total in New Orleans was up by three over the first six months of 2008, the latest crime figures show. It was down on a per capita basis by 1.53 percent, however.

The Uniform Crime Report released by the New Orleans Police Department on Thursday showed 97 murders in the first six months of this year compared to 94 at the same time last year.

But statistics projecting murders per capita showed a decrease to 28 murders per 100,000 people.

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‘‘The 2008 per capita totals were based on the average population of 324,357 published by the Greater New Orleans community Data Center and the 2009 per capita totals were based on an average population of 339,903 also compiled by the same data center,’’ police spokesman Bob Young said in a news release.

The biggest increase was in the number of rapes reported, with 54 compared to 40 in 2008 — a 35 percent increase.

Overall, major crimes showed a decrease of 14.24 percent, police figures show.

Armed robberies decreased 23 percent, down to 374 in the first half of 2009 compared to 484 armed robberies last year.

There was also a sharp decline in assaults with a 13 percent drop from January to June this year compared with 2008. The agency reported 884 assaults for that time in 2008 compared to 767 this year.

Simple robberies climbed 7 percent from 104 last year to 111 this year.

The NOPD also reported a decline in property crimes, showing decreases in thefts, burglary and auto thefts. Overall, property crimes were reduced by 15 percent during the first half of 2009 compared to last year.