Thursday, April 05, 2007

Repeat Champion?

Kudos to the Florida Gators, but I'm not talking about basketball. I wish it was just a game on my mind. It's no longer possible to ignore the crime epidemic in New Orleans. If you're keeping score, the recent spate of murders over the weekend brings the tally to at least 53 in 2007. We're on pace for more than 200 murders this year in a City of somewhere in the neighborhood of 225,000. The City just might surpass last year's blistering rate of 96 murders per 100,000 population -- nearly 20 times the national average -- and be crowned repeat champion as the Nation's murder capital. It's no wonder so many seem to have hitched on to Lot's caravan out of town before the modern-day fire and brimstone vanquish the City that Care Forgot. I can almost picture the airport billboards: "Welcome to New Orleans, the sister city of Sodom and Gomorrah."

Crime is part of urban living, but New Orleans seems to be redefining the industry. I liken crime to having cockroaches. We'll never extinguish the ubiquitous roaches -- Katrina apparently was no match after the critters somehow managed to endure the Cretaceous extinction and Ice Age -- but we're able to keep them under control. Most people look the other way when they see the occasional roach invade their home or scurry across a restaurant floor. It's all part of life in the Big Easy. But when you have an infestation, you call in the Orkin man. New Orleans clearly has a crime infestation, and looking the other way is not an option. If only Orkin had a crime unit!

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