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Crime down in New Orleans but still worse than average

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The nationwide murder rate in 2005 was 5.6 per 100,000 inhabitants. In New Orleans, the 2005 rate was 41.6, using the city's pre-Katrina population of 485,000. Through Oct. 17 this year, there have been 121 murders in the city, compared with 202 for all of 2005. But because of New Orleans' smaller population of 200,000, the city's 2006 murder rate to date is 60.5 per 100,000, and it is on pace to exceed 76 per 100,000 for the full year, according to crime statistics.

Reports of violent crime of all types in the city fell early this year, according to the latest data.

There were 364 reported incidents during the first quarter this year, compared with 1,008 for the year-earlier period. Those figures translate into violent crime rates of 182 per 100,000 for the first quarter of 2006 and 207 for the year-earlier period.

But if the number of violent crimes remains consistent throughout each quarter this year, the full-year violent crime rate for New Orleans would be more than 1.5 times the 2005 nationwide violent crime rate of 469.2.