William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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WHAT AN HONOR:  The race to the bottom, from Daily Mail: 

New Orleans overtook St. Louis as the US murder capital in the first half of this year, as the city struggles with its lowest police staffing level in modern history amid a crisis of officer morale. 

In the first six months of 2022, New Orleans recorded 41 murders per 100,000 population, a higher homicide rate than any other US city, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of data from the Major Cities Chiefs Association. 

By comparison, the first-half murder rate per 100,000 was 11.5 in Chicago, 4.8 in Los Angeles and 2.4 in New York City.

In New Orleans, the homicide rate has soared 141 percent compared with 2019, while shootings are up 100 percent, carjackings up 210 percent and armed robberies up 25 percent, according to the city's Metropolitan Crime Commission.

A separate analysis from Rochester Institute of Technology ranked St. Louis as the US murder capital last year, with a full-year murder rate of 61 per 100,000. 

New Orleans would easily top that if the current 2022 trend holds, with a full-year murder rate of 82, compared to the city's second-place rate of 56 last year. 

Because the FBI has not released its nationwide Unified Crime Report since the 2019 reporting year, comparing the murder rates in different cities has become fraught with difficulty at times.

However, the sources available show that violent crime rates have soared in many cities across the country, a surge that follows psychological and financial stress from the pandemic as well as police cutbacks in response to Black Lives Matter protests.

In New Orleans, the police budget has actually increased significantly in 2022, rising to $215 million from $178 million in 2021.

It's about $570 per resident, approaching the city that spends the most per capita on police, New York, where the outlay for the massive police department is about $653 per resident. 

Hoping to beef up its meager police department, New Orleans officials last week announced a three-year $80 million plan offering raises for all officers, free health care and $30,000 in incentive payments for new hires. 

Some in New Orleans have blamed soaring crime rates on Mayor LaToya Cantrell, a Democrat who was re-elected last year, accusing her of failing to be tough on crime. 

But Cantrell blames a decade-old pact with the Justice Department that she says has made it difficult to recruit new police officers by putting their actions under microscopic scrutiny.

COMMENT:  New York, under Mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg, lowered its murder rate 80%, making New York the safest large city in the world.   You'd think other cities would follow the New York methods.  But, sadly, politics, and especially racial politics, too often get in the way.  In addition, there are leftist blocks in some large cities, including cities in the South, who believe that criminals are simply victims of society, and should be treated as such.

And that is the way civilizations commit suicide.

September 15-16