NEW ORLEANS (NewsNation) — New Orleans now leads the U.S. in murders per capita, new data revealed, far outpacing cities like Chicago and St. Louis.
The city’s homicide rates are skyrocketing. There have been more than 200 homicides this year alone, and that number is up 141% since 2019. The growing crime crisis comes at a time when the city’s police force is experiencing a major staffing shortage.
As of September 11, there have been 205 homicides in New Orleans, according to the Metropolitan Crime Commission, which tracks crime rates in the city.
There have been about 52 homicides per 100,000 residents. According to the Wall Street Journal, that’s more than any other city in the country.
In Chicago, the homicide rate is almost 17.5 per 100,000 residents, and in St. Louis, Missouri — which saw the most murders per capita in all of 2001 — there have been 45.5 per 100,000 residents this year.
The WSJ reported the city has only about 50% to 60% of the officers it needs to protect its residents. There are fewer than 100,000 officers in the New Orleans Police Department. Last year, there were over 1,300 police officers on the force.
Earlier this month, city officials announced an $80 million plan to recruit officers over the next three years, which includes incentives like raises, free health care and bonuses for new recruits.
But violent crime isn’t just terrorizing the city; it’s starting to reach other parts of Louisiana as well.
In Baton Rouge, 21-year-old Allison Rice was found dead in her car with multiple gunshot wounds around 2 a.m. Friday morning. Investigators have only shared a few details about the case, including that she was driving home and was stopped at the train tracks waiting for the train to pass.
“To lose somebody like Alli … really, really hurts,” Rice’s employer Luke Fosterman said.
Rice was a senior at Louisiana State University. Her death marks the sixth homicide in Baton Rouge. The city’s mayor has also called for the increasing violence to stop.