Crimetracker Investigation: Adult arrests

Crimetracker Investigation: Adult arrests

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - From violent crimes to quality of life issues, NOPD officers are constantly on the street responding to calls and patrolling neighborhoods.

In the past two years, the NOPD has made on average about 48 arrests per day. That's 35,185 arrests in 2014 and 2015.

FOX 8 reviewed and analyzed two years of adult arrests to show the types of offenses, their ages and race. We found most people are taken to jail for assault, with 5,381 arrests.

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Compare that to just 20 arrests in a two-year period for things like manslaughter and arson.

People ages 18 to 29 make up 44 percent of all people arrested in New Orleans. Loyola criminologist George Capowich,Ph.D calls it a typical pattern.

"The fact that most of the arrests were from that age category is not a big surprise because even if you look at arrest statistics nationally, when you hit about 25 to 30, you see dramatic decreases," Capowich said.

The national downward trend of arrests of people over the age of 30 is also true here in New Orleans. One statistic that stands out, though, is the number of arrests of people over the age of 65. In a two-year period, police picked up 350 baby boomers.

"You might see older people getting arrested for minor offenses like fighting, disorderly conduct and trespassing, so that might account for some of those numbers," Capowich said.

A disproportionate amount of African Americans are being arrested in New Orleans. Police picked up 24,172 African Americans compared to 10,825 white adults, meaning 69 percent of arrests are African-American adults.

According to the 2010 census, African Americans make up 60 percent of the city's population.

To get a closer look at what's happening, FOX 8 broke the arrest numbers down by race and offense.

"The one that stood out that we look at a lot is one for drug possession. We know from many many studies that African American and white usage of drugs is about the same, but the arrests of African Americans is much higher," Capowich said.

Capowich believes the drug arrests are likely happening in the inner city neighborhoods that are predominately African American.

"In those kinds of neighborhoods, drug use and drug dealing tend to be more in public. Inner city neighborhoods have much more pedestrian traffic than non-inner city neighborhoods," Capowich said.

There are two categories where more white adults are arrested than African Americans. Police arrested 1,695 white adults for driving under the influence compared to 867 African Americans. The other category is public drunkenness. In a two-year period, police arrested 664 white people compared to 652 African Americans.

In some of the most violent categories, though, like aggravated assault and murder, African Americans are arrested at a much higher rate than white adults.

The number of arrests from month to month can vary dramatically. In December of 2014, police made 3,583 arrests. Just a month later, they made 1,245 arrests. That's a 65 percent drop.

"That could be a number of things like special events in the city, special deployments, if the departments have to take people off of regular patrols to concentrate them on a task force where crimes are occurring," Capowich said.

While arrests data can give you a much better idea about police activity, it does not reflect the amount of crime in New Orleans.

"They're not making arrests on 100 percent of that crimes that take place," Capowich said.

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