New Orleans Sees Decrease in Murders in 2023, But Data Analyst Hesitant to Credit Local Initiatives

NEW ORLEANS, La. – Murders in New Orleans dropped in 2023 compared to recent years, according to data analyst Jeff Asher. The total number of people killed in the city was 193, a decrease from 266 in 2022.

Asher, who analyzes crime statistics for the New Orleans City Council, pointed out that the significant decrease in murders is an improvement compared to the previous years. He hesitated to credit local crime-reduction initiatives for the decrease, noting that crime surged following the coronavirus pandemic.

The years 2020 through 2022 saw the nation’s highest murder rates, with 266 killings in New Orleans in 2022. However, Asher highlighted that the decrease in crime in 2023 was mainly due to only five murders occurring in December. This is a stark reduction compared to previous years.

The drop in murders comes as Superintendent Anne Kirkpatrick was hired by New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, becoming the first full-time female NOPD Superintendent. Prior to Kirkpatrick, Interim Michelle Woodfork led the force. However, the New Orleans Police Department continues to suffer with roughly 900 officers on the streets, well below the ideal number of 1,500.

In addition, Asher noted that the low murder count in New Orleans follows a national trend, with homicides down in most major urban cities. While NOPD’s response time improved last year, Asher expressed difficulty in finding any other local metric to credit for the reduction in crime.

The decrease in murders in 2023 marks an improvement for New Orleans, following years of record-high murder rates. It is a positive development for the city, especially in the wake of the challenges posed by the pandemic. The last time New Orleans had fewer than 200 murders was in 2019, which was the year before the pandemic, with the city experiencing an almost 50-year low in murders, totaling 121.