Nearly one in five shooting incidents in New Orleans happen in two neighborhoods, one of which, Central City, has seen a recent flare-up of bullets hitting flesh, according to an analysis by Jeff Asher, a crime expert who recently worked for the city.

Central City and the 7th Ward account for less than 7 percent of the city’s population but 19 percent of its shootings, according to 2010 census figures and population trends estimated by New Orleans-based The Data Center.

It comes as no surprise that those two notoriously bloody New Orleans neighborhoods, out of 70 that Asher analyzed using publicly available police data, rank high in gun violence.

But the data show they in fact stand head and shoulders above the rest.

The neighborhood with the third-highest number of shootings, Little Woods in New Orleans East, has a much bigger population, at nearly 36,000, and a per-capita shooting rate that ranks in the middle of the pack.

The neighborhood with the fourth-highest rate of gun violence — St. Roch — averaged half as many shootings as Central City from the start of 2011 through July of this year, the period covered in Asher’s analysis.

On average, someone is shot 42 times each year in Central City, 39 times in the 7th Ward and 33 times in Little Woods.

And the shooting rates are rising in Central City and Little Woods, which saw 51 and 42 shooting incidents during the past year, respectively.

Asher’s analysis, using NOPD data, found that during June and July, the “annualized” pace of shootings in Central City increased to 60, or more than one shooting incident per week in the neighborhood, home of 10 percent of the city’s shooting incidents but just 4 percent of its residents.

The data do not include gunfire that misses or shootings in which no one shows up at a hospital or reports it to police.

Central City has a growing population estimated at 14,000 people. More than 42 percent of households there live in poverty, according to The Data Center. The same level of poverty plagues the 7th Ward and its estimated 11,750 residents.

“All of the research shows that gun violence is concentrated. This is showing us the concentrations of gun violence and where it’s happening,” said Asher, now a private consultant who writes a blog for The New Orleans Advocate.

“I guess it’s not too surprising Central City has been the most violent over the last 4.5 years. It’s just the sheer numbers. It’s bad, but also it seems like it might be getting worse.”

Asher’s analysis simply counts shootings in each of 70 neighborhoods. When those data are further broken down to a per-capita basis, Central City, the 7th Ward and St. Roch rank highest in gun violence in neighborhoods with more than 3,000 people, according to population estimates, Asher’s data show.

Meanwhile, a dozen neighborhoods in the city, as defined by The Data Center, have seen an average of zero shooting incidents each year since the start of 2011, and half saw an annual average of three or fewer.

The Behrman area, in the belly of Algiers and the NOPD’s 4th District, ranks sixth in annual gun violence but has seen a recent lull, with nobody shot in June or July.

Asher cautioned that such short-term trends can quickly change.

“I liken the 60-day trend to almost like an alarm. The areas that are flashing red, people need to be aware there’s an unusual amount of violence that’s happening in those areas, but it’s not necessarily going to act like that the rest of the year. We could have three in the next week,” Asher said.

In 2011, under data-loving former Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas, the NOPD began using a new software program, Omega Crime View, to help it aim resources at emerging trouble spots.

That program remains in active use and is more useful in deploying officers than longer-range analyses like Asher’s, NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison said.

Asher’s analysis “helps for historical knowledge and for big picture, but really what’s important is for us to be able to look at it all the time, 24 hours a day,” Harrison said.

The neighborhood view “can’t predict, for example, if there’s going to be a party at this place and 2,000 kids will show up. The commander might know and deploy based on that.”

Harrison cited “group and gang violence” as the source for at least some of the spike in Central City shootings.

Robert Bardy, the NOPD’s deputy superintendent for field operations, agreed that a neighborhood analysis of shooting data has marginal impact on daily strategy.

Bardy said the department shifted gears twice just on Friday, in response to a Mardi Gras Indian group planning an event at A.L. Davis Park in Central City, and based on a map of recent robberies.

“It’s a bunch of moving parts constantly. Sometimes it’s changing on the fly,” Bardy said. “It’s like being an air-traffic controller.”

Asher sees shooting incidents, rather than murders, as the best indicator of gun violence in the city, arguing that once a bullet leaves a gun, the rest is mostly up to chance.

All told, New Orleans has averaged 424 annual shooting incidents citywide in the past 4 1/2 years, according to Asher’s figures.

Follow John Simerman on Twitter, @johnsimerman.