NEW ORLEANS – New Orleans ranks as the most violent U.S. city, with more than 19,000 reported crimes and 208 murders in 2007, according to a study released Monday.
The study published by CQ Press, the book publishing arm of Congressional Quarterly, examined six categories — homicide, rape, burglary, robbery, aggravated assault and motor vehicle theft.
The rankings include all cities of at least 75,000 residents that reported crime data to the FBI in those crime categories for 2007.
"Based on a per capita basis, New Orleans has the No. 1 crime ranking using FBI statistics," said CQ spokesman Ben Krasney.
New Orleans was well ahead of second-place Camden, New Jersey, and third-place Detroit, according to the study. St. Louis, Missouri and Oakland, California, rounded out the top five.
In homicides, New Orleans had 94.7 per 100,000 population, compared to the overall national average of 5.6 per 100,000 and to Gary, Indiana, ranked second with 73.2 per 100,000.
"I think residents have real cause for concern," Krasney said. "The murder rate per capita is many times the national average."
The rankings are calculated using crime statistics and population data furnished by the FBI.
Police and civic leaders across the country have previously criticized the rankings for their methodology and use of federally reported crime statistics.
The FBI used a population of 220,614 for 2007, Krasney said. If the study was done using the Census Bureau figure of 239,000, the result would have been the same, he said.
"It's unacceptably high, whichever figures you use," said Rafael Goyeneche, executive director of the Metropolitan Crime Commission of Greater New Orleans, a crime watchdog group. "But the question now is what are we going to do about it?"