In 2019, New Orleans saw the lowest number of murders in nearly 50 years, and city leaders are taking credit for it.
According to WWLTV, New Orleans ended 2019 with the lowest annual murder count since 1971. City leaders were quick to point out that the low number of murders in New Orleans is a sign that their attempts to reduce violent crimes have not been futile.
New Orleans Sees Lowest Murder Total Since 1971
The report cited tweets from Jeff Asher, a reputable data analyst who works with the city of New Orleans. In one of his tweets, Asher claims that about 119 people were murdered in the city in 2019, which stands in stark contrast to 146 murders in 2018.
However, Asher’s figure is not precise because a December cyberattack targeting the government crippled public access to crime data. The figure provided by Asher means that New Orleans saw the lowest number of murders in 48 years.
Interestingly, 2019 was the third year in a row that New Orleans’s total number of murders has declined. The last time the city had the annual murder count this low was in 1971. That year, 116 homicides were reported in New Orleans.
So, is New Orleans No Longer the ‘Murder Capital of America’?
Despite the declining number of murders in New Orleans, the city is still regularly listed as one of the deadliest U.S. cities. In 1994, the city was officially named the “Murder Capital of America” after it hit a historical peak at 424 murders. Interestingly, the murder rate per 100,000 residents has also been declining.
In 2018, the murder rate was roughly 37 murders per 100,000 residents. Last year, the rate was estimated at 30 per 100,000 people. The last time the city’s murder rate was so low was in 1986.
Murder Charges in New Orleans, Louisiana
Under Louisiana law, there are two distinct murder charges:
- First-degree murder
- Second-degree murder
While both types define the act of ending someone else’s life with the intent to inflict bodily harm or kill, the charges and penalties depend on the circumstances of the murder case.
In Louisiana, first-degree murder is an intentional act. Typically, first-degree murders carry the most serious penalties and take place under aggravating circumstances. An individual may face first-degree murder charges for murdering another person while committing certain felony offenses.
Also, first-degree charges apply if the killed person was a police officer, fireman, senior citizen, a child under 12, or another person of special interest. One may be charged with first-degree murder for killing two or more people.
If there was specific intent to kill, but the offender was not committing a felony at the time of the violent crime, the offender may face second-degree murder charges. If a person was committing a felony but did not have the intent to kill, he or she can be charged with second-degree murder. The same can be said about a drug dealer who kills the recipient of a controlled substance as a result of committing a drug crime.
Talk to a New Orleans violent crimes attorney to discuss your situation and build a defense strategy. Call at 504-368-8440 to contact The Law Office of Robert S. Toale.