Louisiana has the highest murder rate in the country according to data gathered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and it has held this dubious distinction for 31 consecutive years. The figures also suggest that New Orleans is one of the nation’s most dangerous cities. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report reveals that the Big Easy was America’s fourth deadliest city in 2019, and things are not expected to change much when the 2020 data is published.
Killings plunge but murder rate remains high
New Orleans has been one of the nation’s five deadliest cities since 1986. The number of homoicides reported in the city fell to 121 in 2019, but the lowest murder rate since 1971 still placed New Orleans higher than Kansas City and Memphis on the FBI’s dangerous cities list. This is because the city had more murders per 100,000 residents even if it registered fewer homicides overall. When compiling the list, the FBI only uses data from cities with populations of 250,000 or more.
Murders surge in 2020
The 2020 murder statistics will be even worse. The 137 homicides registered in the city during the first nine months of 2019 represent a 56% year-over-year increase, and shootings that do not result in a death are on pace to rise by 44%. Experts say violent crime increases such as these are caused by poverty, unemployment and poor schools.
The penalties for murder are severe
Being found guilty of homicide by a jury usually leads to a long prison sentence, which is why many individuals accused of committing murder choose to avoid courtroom trials by accepting plea offers. During plea discussions, experienced criminal defense attorneys may seek a more lenient sentence by reminding prosecutors of the risks of arguing before a jury and pointing out mitigating factors that shine a different light on their client’s behavior.