Sunday, April 16, 2006

Battered New Orleans ...

AFP reports that,

“In battered New Orleans, crime comes calling, again:”

Crime is back in New Orleans, after a brief reprieve. The city was on track to become the nation's homicide capital before Katrina flooded most of its streets August 29.

A brief period of lawlessness ensued. Scores of cops deserted. Hundreds of National Guard troops then reinforced police and authorities nearly emptied the city. Several months of relative peace and recovery followed.

Police Chief Warren Riley acknowledges a subsequent upturn in crime, but still maintains post-Katrina New Orleans is one of the safest cities in the United States. "We're going to always have some crime in the city," Riley said.

However, the chief says murders are down dramatically from last year when the city had 465,000 residents. Most arrests today are for drugs and looting, which has "subsided considerably," he said.

Criminologist Peter Scharf reflects the skepticism of a public that has long distrusted police crime statistics. Accepting police estimates that the city has 200,000 residents, the professor says, New Orleans still ranks among the nation's top ten cities for murders per capita. By last week, the city had 18 homicides, the same number as a suburb with more than twice its population.

"If this is Pleasantville," Scharf said of New Orleans, "we're in deep trouble."

Only one of the city's 10 jails is fully functional. NOPD's temporary headquarters is a collection of trailers at a vehicle inspection station. Nerves are frayed. Eighty percent of city cops lost their homes to Katrina.


jbv's Competitive Edge 


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