Before we go celebrating the selection of Michael Harrison as the proposed new Baltimore police commissioner, everyone involved from City Hall to city residents who feel abandoned or abused by the Baltimore Police Department ought to do some research into New Orleans crime statistics. After all, New Orleans is where Mr. Harrison has spent the last 27 years of his policing and leadership career (“In New Orleans, high regard for Michael Harrison, Pugh’s pick for Baltimore police commissioner,” Jan. 9).
Everyone with a smart phone can get those stats in a moment. The facts are that New Orleans has a murder rate at least seven times the national average for the past 30 years. New Orleans had the highest murder rate of any U.S. city with a population of 100,000 or more in 2011. New Orleans murder rate of 58 per 100,000 from 1990-2012 is nearly 20 percent higher than any other major city. For the 29th straight year, Louisiana, with New Orleans being its largest population center, owns the highest murder rate in the country.
Certainly, Mr. Harrison knows murder well, and we could not ask for one more experienced in the crime that taints our urban image so significantly. Yet, apparently, knowing murder intimately has little to do with reducing its prevalence.