New Orleans ending year with 164 murders, up after dropping for 2 years

By on January 1, 2016

(NOLA.COM) New Orleans had just ended 2014 with its lowest murder total of the last four decades. But just 12 hours into 2015, a father and son were working on a pickup truck outside the family’s Gentilly home when neighbors reported hearing what they thought were fireworks.

The sound they heard came from gunfire sprayed in the pair’s direction. The deaths of Desmond Lange Sr., 64, and his 42-year-old son, Desmond Lange Jr., marked the first and second murders of the year.

By mid-year, with New Orleans reaching 100 murders nearly two months earlier than the previous two years, the city’s highly touted streak of declining homicides appeared to be coming to an end.

Even with a spike in bloodshed the final week leading up to 2016 – six dead in the last seven days – the number of New Orleans murders still landed among one of the lowest totals of the last 25 years.

Mothers and fathers, the elderly and the unborn – 164 lives were lost to violence in 2015. While the total is a far cry from the 190-plus figure predicted in July, it represents a 9 percent increase from last year’s 150.

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