As violent crime rates drop across the nation, Louisiana has proven one of the few exceptions, receiving a top five ranking among the country’s most dangerous states.
According to data collected by the Federal Bureau of Investigations, between 2012 and 2013, the nation’s violent crimes dropped by 4.4 percent. And over the last decade, the number of violent crimes in the U.S. has decreased by close to 15 percent.
Yet, that hasn’t been the case for Louisiana, which according to this report by 24/7 Wall St., is the nation’s fifth most violent state based on 2013 crime data.
Here’s what the report had to say about the Bayou State (bold is ours):
• Violent crimes per 100,000: 510.4
• Population: 4,625,470
• Total 2013 murders: 498 (9th highest)
• Poverty rate: 19.8% (3rd highest)
• Proportion of adults with high school diploma: 83.1% (4th lowest)
More than 17% of Louisiana residents received food stamps in 2013, well above the 13.5% who did nationwide. Low incomes may be the result of low education attainment rates. Only 22.5% of Louisiana residents aged 25 and older had at least a bachelor’s degree as of 2013, among the lowest rates in the country. These relatively poor socioeconomic factors likely contributed to higher crime rates. There were 510 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents in 2013, a 2.8% increase over 2012. While crime rates dropped across the country, Louisiana was one of a handful of states where violent crime rates increased. Criminal activity in New Orleans and Lafayette, which both reported some of the higher violent crime rates among large U.S. metro areas, also contributed largely to Louisiana’s crime problem.
The IND reached out to Chief Jim Craft of the Lafayette Police Department for comment, but did not immediately receive a response before this story was published. We’ll keep you posted with an update to this story once we hear back from the chief.