Behind the Numbers: Lakeview crime rising, but deeper dive shows different story _lowres

The Lakeview area of New Orleans that was heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina with the repaired 17th Street Canal near the top, in a Thursday, Nov. 23, 2006 photo. Sixteen months after Hurricane Katrina, the upper-middle-class neighborhood of Lakeview is recovering, slowly but unmistakably. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

A couple of recent WWL-TV stories highlighted a new crime prevention group in Lakeview, formed in response to a perceived uptick in crime in the neighborhood. This presents a great opportunity to see if perception matches the data. My analysis shows that while crime in Lakeview has risen relative to 2014 levels, crime in the neighborhood remains below its average from 2011 to 2013.

For the purpose of this analysis, crimes are counted based on thepreviously defined Person and Property crime definitions. Accumulated Calls for Service totals were used to analyze changing trends in the neighborhood. Lakeview’s rectangular shape makes the neighborhood easy to analyze using the method laid out here. For the sake of full disclosure, the author is a Lakeview resident.

Summarizing Crime in Lakeview

Lakeview has recorded just 0.7 percent of the overall crime in New Orleans between 2011 and the end of July 2015, even though the neighborhood has about 2.2 percent of the city’s population. Breaking down crimes by type, Lakeview experiences almost exclusively property crimes (burglary, theft and auto theft) rather than crimes against persons (murder, assault, robbery and rape).

Person and Property Crime in Lakeview and New Orleans, 2011 – 2015. Source: NOPD.

Lakeview has averaged a total of about 114 Person and Property crimes per year between 2011 and 2015. The data show that crime is on pace to rise approximately 15.1 percent in 2015 as compared to 2014.

Lakeview Crime by Year, 2011 – 2015 with 2015’s estimated pace as of July 31, 2015. Source: NOPD.

This rise, if realized in 2015, would follow consecutive years of declining crime in the neighborhood. The changing pace of crime in Lakeview is shown in the chart below.

Compared to 2011, crime was relatively steady in Lakeview in 2012 and 2013 before dropping significantly in 2014. The current level of crime in the neighborhood is approximately 20 percent below where it was at the end of 2011 despite the increase from 2014 to 2015. Lakeview’s crime patterns stand in stark contrast to the rest of New Orleans’ — in a good way — as shown in the chart below.

The below table tracks changes in the number of crimes per estimated Lakeview resident since 2011. The population totals compare the 2010 census figure for Lakeview with a 2015 estimate compiled by Advocate reporter John Simerman using Data Center research. The table assumes a linear growth for every year between 2010 and 2015 and highlights the degree to which Lakeview’s growth has not been accompanied by a similar increase in crime.

All neighborhoods in New Orleans experience crime to one degree or another, and Lakeview is no exception. Although crime has increased this year, the neighborhood is experiencing less crime both in total and on a per-capita basis than it did between 2011 and 2013. Auto thefts do appear to be rising in 2015, but the fact that Lakeview managed to avoid the steep jump in crime that most of the city saw in 2014 suggests that crime prevention efforts in the area have largely worked to date.