New Orleans 2: The New York Times Got It Wrong

(OK, there’s always the possibility that the San Francisco Chronicle changed the wording on the NYTimes story it reprinted this morning–but I doubt it.)

If you know New Orleans and you’re going to ALA, you must have gone “Wha?” when you read this morning that the Central Business District, CBD, was a hotbed of drug activity and was where the quintuple slaying occurred.

After all, CBD’s pretty near the conference area.

Here’s a key paragraph of a New Orleans Convention & Visitor’s Bureau statement:

Contrary to reports in the national news, the recent reprehensible murders of five youths in the city occurred at 4:00 a.m. in the sparsely populated Central City neighborhood miles away from the Central Business District, French Quarter, Convention Center and Warehouse Arts District. Unfortunately Central City has historically been the location for criminal behavior prior to Hurricane Katrina, and remains a “hot spot” for unlawful behavior. The murders have no bearing on any crime or safety issues in the areas of the city frequented by tourists.

Read “conventiongoers” for “tourists” and you get the idea: The media just plain got it wrong.

Of course you should be careful in New Orleans, more so if you’re going outside the general convention area (CBD, Warehouse Arts, Convention Center, French Quarter). For that matter, I can’t think of many cities where you should be walking around by yourself at 4 a.m. in any downtown area…
But don’t get panicked because of erroneous reporting.

2 Responses to “New Orleans 2: The New York Times Got It Wrong”

  1. Great comment Walt. I observed that there have been more murders in Hartford (CT) this year than in New Orleans. The Mayor there has asked for and received State Police help. I don’t think that made national news!

    We are talking cities here. You have to be careful in ANY city.

  2. walt says:

    Michael, Thanks.

    Actually, the requested-and-received help was in the same NYTimes story that mis-reported where the drug trafficking was.

    I almost commented on my own post: I did a little checking in the FBI Uniform Crime Reports in the process of preparing that note, checking that didn’t appear in the post.

    Based on that checking, people should be raising heck about ALA being in Washington, DC, or Philadelphia, both of which have higher per-cap. murder rates. But, of course, they don’t and shouldn’t. You pay attention to where you are in either city.

    For some reason, I always thought that San Antonio, a large and relatively poor city, had a high crime rate. Not where murder’s concerned: for 2005, it had 6.9 murders per 100K people, which is right around the national average–and lower than, say, Chicago or Boston or Atlanta or Miami or LA, and just about even with New York City.

    The other comment: I knew I live in a relatively low-crime area. Didn’t realize just how low until I was looking at UCR. San Jose may not have the lowest per-cap murder rate of any near-million-population American city (around 900,000), but it’s WAY below the national average (2.9 murders per 100K people in 2005, as compared to around 5.5/6 national average–and yes, New Orleans is much higher than the national average). But of course, I don’t live in San Jose; I live in Mountain View, with 72,000 people and “one murder some years, no murders other years.”

    For next Midwinter: Seattle is below the national average–but not by much. It’s more “dangerous” than San Jose, if you will–but even making that statement is silly.

    I’d guess you have to be sensible in suburbs and towns as well.