State auditor to look at New Orleans crime stats

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wwltv.com

Posted on May 22, 2013 at 6:26 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 22 at 7:21 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans has been called the murder capital of the country with a murder rate more than 10 times the national average. But some now suggest the city's reporting in other categories of violent crime doesn't reflect what is happening in other city's with crime problems.

"You would almost have to argue that everyone in the city of New Orleans who sets out with the intention of murdering someone is always successful," said Sen. J.P. Morrell. "Every shooter is an excellent marksman because because they never hit a bystander."

In Detroit the ratio of aggravated assault to murder in 2011 was 28 to 1. In Atlanta the ratio was 40 to 1 and in Houston, 60 to 1.Over that same time period, according to the FBI's annual crime report, In New Orleans there were only 7 aggravated assaults for every murder.

Tulane Criminologist Peter Scharf says the anomaly raises questions about the accuracy of NOPD's crime reporting.

"Does it come close to proving intent that someone is playing with the books? No," said Scharf. "Do we need to have a straight audit? Absolutely."

The state may soon be investigating the NOPD's crime reporting. State Senator J.P. Morrell asked the legislative auditor to take a look at the books.

"If it is revealed that these statistics have altered, I think it is to give the people of New Orleans a false sense of security," said Morrell.

Morrell says the legislative auditor is the proper office to look into NOPD's crime stats. He says every year money trickles down from the state to help fight crime in New Orleans.

"It doesn't help our city to make the case to the public for additional funding for the police department when you're down playing how much crime is actually taking place."

Scharf says it's in the city's best interest to have accurate numbers. "So when things turn around we can say we got better."

The NOPD is standing by the accuracy of its crime stats.

Superintendent Ronal Serpas said the department is using the most sophisticated deployment and analytic tools available to police the city.

 
 

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