Murder Rates in New Orleans Drop in 2023, Despite National Surge in Crime

NEW ORLEANS, La. – A recent analysis reveals a decrease in murders across New Orleans in 2023 compared to previous years. Data analyst Jeff Asher reported a total of 193 homicides in the city last year, marking a decline from the 266 murders in 2022. Asher, who compiles crime statistics for the New Orleans City Council, pointed out that the surge in crime following the coronavirus pandemic makes it difficult to attribute the decrease in murders to local crime-reduction efforts.

The years 2020 through 2022 witnessed the nation’s highest murder rates, with 266 killings in New Orleans in 2022 alone. According to Asher, one significant factor contributing to the reduction in crime in 2023 was the low count of five murders in December, marking one of the lowest murder rates since Hurricane Katrina. This decline comes as Superintendent Anne Kirkpatrick was appointed by New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, becoming the first full-time female NOPD Superintendent, following Interim Michelle Woodfork’s leadership. However, the New Orleans Police Department continues to face challenges with a record-low of roughly 900 officers on the streets, well below the ideal count of 1,500 officers for the city.

Asher noted that the decrease in murder count in New Orleans aligns with a national trend, as homicides have declined in most major urban cities. While acknowledging an improvement in the NOPD’s response time, Asher expressed uncertainty in attributing the reduction in crime to any other local factors. The last time New Orleans experienced fewer than 200 murders was in 2019, prior to the pandemic, when the city had its lowest murder rate in almost 50 years, totaling 121.

In summary, the data analysis points to a decrease in murders in New Orleans in 2023, compared to the peak years of 2020-2022. However, the underlying factors contributing to this decline remain complex and multifaceted.