Katie Moore / Eyewitness News
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NEW ORLEANS -- A new survey by the U.S. Department of Justice shows a significant increase in assaults nationwide. The annual survey also shows less than half of all victims of violent crime nationwide are reporting them to police.

In the past 24 hours, five people have been shot on the streets of New Orleans, one of them killed. The shootings happened in four different locations.

For the first time in nearly 20 years, the Criminal Victimization Survey showed an increase in violent crime, mostly because of a 22 percent increase in assaults.

'It gives us another valuable tool in assessing what is the crime picture in America,' said NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas.

The survey is different from the crime stats the FBI puts out every year. It's not a look at crimes reported to police. It looks at the actual victims of crime, who may or may not have reported it to police.

On both fronts, Serpas said a recent Crime Coalition survey shows New Orleans bucking the national trends.

'New Orleans is a far safer city than what we might believe, but it's also a city that has too much crime,' Serpas said.

The DOJ report shows less than half of all victims of violent crime reported it to police nation-wide. Serpas said the Crime Coalition found than number was eighty five percent here.

But victim advocacy group silence is violence said they're hearing that's not so.

'The fear factor has taken over. They're fearful of becoming witnesses in cases. Knowing you are a victim, you have to testify against the perpetrator. And unfortunately we have a history of witnesses being slain here in the city,' said Tamara Jackson, executive director of Silence is Violence.

Despite efforts to change the culture of silence over the past several years, Jackson said it's still a big problem on the streets of New Orleans, a problem that depends on trust in the police.

The DOJ survey also showed only 40 percent of victims nationwide reported property crimes to police.

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