Murders Down, Arrests Up in Post-Katrina New Orleans Since National Guard Arrived

The homicide rate in New Orleans has been cut in half since the National Guard and state police arrived to help patrol the city a month ago, city police statistics show. At the same time, arrests in some crime-plagued neighborhoods have almost doubled.

Gov. Kathleen Blanco sent the Guard and state police into the city after a bloody June weekend that ended with six people slain.

In the 30 days before the reinforcements arrived, there were 21 killings in the city. In the 30 days afterward, there were 11.

Police superintendent Warren Riley claimed success in reducing the violent crime rate. Deputy Chief John Bryson called the results "remarkable."

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The Guard was sent June 20 to patrol largely deserted, flooded-out areas where looting was still a problem since Hurricane Katrina devastated the city late last August. Police task forces were then reassigned to beats in the troubled streets of Central City, Pigeon Town and other neighborhoods that have grown increasingly violent.

In Central City, where 18 of this year's 67 homicides were recorded, arrests have nearly doubled since the shift of police manpower, said Capt. Bob Bardy. His officers had been averaging 150 to 180 arrests per week before June 20. Last week, they made 318 arrests.

New Orleans homicides hit their historic peak in 1994, with 421 dead, more per-capita than any other U.S. city that year. The number dropped to 159 in 1999, but rose again, reaching 274 in 2003 and 265 in 2004.