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Posted: Monday, 08 July 2013 6:00AM

New Orleans no longer America's Murder Capital?

New Orleans is on track to lose its title as the 'Murder Capital of America.'

At least for the time being, that dishonor belongs to Detroit.

"The murder numbers today are lower than they have been in 20 years," says Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

Landrieu met with the mayors of Atlanta, Birmingham and Newark over the Essence Fest weekend in New Orleans to discuss the fight against crime and violence.

The meetings came as Landrieu's 'NOLA for Life' anti-violence campaign appears to be paying off.

Mayor Landrieu says there were 76 homicides in the city the first 6 months of the year.

That's still high....but, if the murder rate holds steady, 2013 could be the least bloody year in decades for New Orleans.

If the rate remains exactly the same, 152 people will be murdered in New Orleans by year's end. The lowest tally in the last two decades was 158 in 1999.

Demographer Greg Rigamer thinks it's possible.

"It looks like it is," says Rigamer. "When you have six months out of twelve reporting, that's a pretty significant number. You've got essentially half the sample in at this point. So, I think it's encouraging."

The first half of 2013 saw a 22 percent decrease in murders compared to the same period last year.

"The numbers are substantially below what they would typically be in a normal year, so it's a very good sign," Rigamer says.

He thinks recent efforts to get a relatively small group of young gang members off the streets recently appear to having an effect.

"These violent crimes are very often concentrated within a very small percentage or number of perpetrators. You get a couple of the bad guys off the streets, and you do make a difference."

City officials claim that a small group of young men who belong to about 40 identified neighborhood gangs are the source of an overwhelming number of the city's crimes.

Filed Under :  
Locations : AtlantaBirminghamDetroitNew OrleansNewark
People : Greg RigamerMitch Landrieu
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