After Katrina, New Orleans Crime Moves to Other Cities

ABC News, Nov. 16

New Orleans police say they have never seen so much peace and quiet on the city’s streets.

“We haven’t seen a robbery since the beginning of August,” said Lt. Troy Savage, who patrols what was once the city’s most violent neighborhood.

“We’re probably at this point, one of the safest communities in the United States,” he said.

Police said a woman was stabbed to death Tuesday night—the first such incident in 90 days, a record in this city.

Since Hurricane Katrina forced most of the residents to relocate, police say, the daily shootings and killings have stopped.

“This was the most lethal criminal underclass in the United States,” said Dr. Peter Scharf, director of the University of New Orleans Center for Society, Law and Justice. “We were heading for a murder rate of 72 per 100,000. New York City is at seven.”

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By some estimates, hardcore criminals in New Orleans numbered in the tens of thousands, and they’re now living in other cities—Baton Rouge, Dallas, Atlanta, and Houston.

Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt says crime is up in neighborhoods where large numbers of evacuees have settled.

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In Georgia, police have been busy busting alleged New Orleans drug dealers trying set up shop in and around Atlanta.

As a result, residents in some places are beginning to roll up the welcome mat. It’s a criminal element some cities didn’t expect, and New Orleans doesn’t want back.

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