The New York Times had a great piece yesterday on New Orleans struggle with a off the charts homicide rate.
Of all the challenges facing the city of New Orleans, none is as urgent or as relentlessly grim as the city’s homicide rate. It was measured at 10 times the national average in 2010, long before shootings on Halloween night in the crowded French Quarter revealed to a larger public what was going on in poor neighborhoods around the city every week. There were 51 homicides per 100,000 residents here last year, compared with less than 7 per 100,000 in New York or 23 in similar-size Oakland, Calif.
“From September of last year to February of this year,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu in a recent speech, after reciting a litany of killings from one city high school, “a student attending John McDonogh was more likely to be killed than a soldier in Afghanistan.”
Unfortunately, for the citizens of New Orleans, they're in the middle of a perfect storm. A dysfunctional and sometimes corrupt police department, poverty and societal upheaval have fostered a lack of trust between citizens and the government entities that should be working to make their community safer. Until the police and the community can work together, it's not likely that they are going to get a handle on this anytime soon.
It makes me glad I work in a community that has a much better relationship with the citizens we serve.