New data from the FBI finds Louisiana’s murder rate is once again higher than any other state in the country. The state recorded 10.3 murders per 100,000 people in 2015, a slight increase from 2014. Louisiana has had the highest murder rate in the country since 1989. Criminologist Dr. Peter Scharf with the LSU School of Public Health says the state’s high incarceration rate contributes to the large number of murders.
“People come out of jail, and in north Baton Rouge and New Orleans they often get absorbed back into the drug, dope, gun world, and this feeds the murderousness in the city,” Scharf said.
New Orleans has the highest rate in the state, followed by Monroe and Baton Rouge. And the Crescent City ranks 8th in the country for murder rates among major metropolitan areas. Scharf says there’s a national trend for increasing murder rates, but he believes Louisiana is leading the trend, not following it.
“When you’re the bottom in health, education, social welfare, child advocacy, you’re going to be high in murder. That’s just the way it is,” Scharf said.
Scharf says a murder costs the state between $1 million and $6 million. He says preventative measures are much more affordable than the costs of violent crimes.
“We can’t afford that. We don’t have the money to pay for the consequences of gun violence, and we have to avert it well before,” Scharf said.