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NEW ORLEANS Data released Wednesday by the New Orleans Police Department touts a drop in violent crime when comparing the first quarter of 2013 to 2012, falling more than 8 percent, NOPD officials said.

Total crimes, however, were up a little over two percent comparing the first quarter of 2011 to the first quarter of 2012. (See crime stats)

In addition to the release of the first quarter crime statistics, the NOPD further touted an overall downward trend of crime numbers in the past three years.

With 43 killings for the first three months compared to 45 in 2012, murders fell four percent, according to the NOPD.

'I am convinced that the reduction in overall crimes since May of 2010 shows that our accountability and crime-fighting strategies -- as part of Mayor Landrieu's 'NOLA for Life' plan -- have made a difference,' Serpas said in the statement.

According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, the first quarter of 2013 saw 'double-digit drops' in armed robberies down nearly 22 percent and rapes down more than 18 percent, NOPD said in a statement.

The release of the first quarter UCR by the NOPD is nearly the three-year mark -- the 35th month -- of Serpas leading the NOPD. The report from the NOPD noted that during that period, violent crime fell 4.4 percent, murder fell three percent and total major crimes were down three percent when compared to the previous 35 months before Serpas took command of the NOPD. Warren Riley was superintendent at that time.

'I'm very proud of the men and women of the NOPD who have worked so hard these last three years, and formed a tighter relationship with the people of New Orleans. It's a testament to them that overall crime during this lengthy time period is down. Our officers of today have done more with less, and they should be commended for this,' Serpas said.

Not all of the comparisons to Riley's time as NOPD chief were favorable, according to the NOPD release. Simple robberies were up 41 percent and thefts climbed 12.5 percent. Also, rapes increased 61 percent, but that was 'because of a new classification system put in place since Superintendent Serpas was appointed,' the release said, adding, 'It should be noted the increase in reported rapes is consistent with our realignment and reorganization of this unit in the summer of 2010 after we learned of instances of misclassifications of this crime.'

'We look forward to adding more officers to the roster this year with two or possibly three new classes of recruits,' Serpas said. 'We'll be a stronger department because of this, and will be able to do more for the people we serve.'

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