Staying Safe in New Orleans
Public safety and crime prevention should rightfully be part of the discussion about everyday life and neighborhood selection in any modern city.
People attracted to the energy and amenities of New Orleans’ city center generally understand that it comes with nominally higher rates of routine traffic incidents, street crime, and other realities of urban life. Those who prefer the benefits of suburban or small-town living, on the other hand, will find plenty of communities that match their tastes throughout the region.
Like the rest of its Gulf Coast and Southeast neighbors, the Greater New Orleans region does face hurricane risk. However, thanks to modern weather tracking, hurricanes are one of the most predictable weather phenomena, allowing for advanced planning and precautionary measures.
Statistically, Louisiana is one of America’s safest states with respect to natural disasters. Since 2000, Louisiana has had 40 federally declared natural disasters, seven less than the national average of 47 declared disasters per state. Outside of hurricane season, which lasts from June 1 through November 30, Greater New Orleans experiences very little severe weather.
Like all major urban areas, crime is not evenly distributed throughout New Orleans, with most incidents occurring in just a handful of pockets and the majority of the city experiencing a marked improvement in crime prevention. Since 2010, burglaries in the metro area have decreased by nearly 50%.
The New Orleans Police Department has also been nationally recognized as a model for police reform. Recent reform efforts have resulted in dramatic improvements to organizational culture, including increased transparency and improved officer and staff training. The NOPD also is working with community groups and leveraging new, data-driven technology and tools to address and improve issues of day-to-day urban life.
Events and Tourism
More than 18 million tourists visit New Orleans each year to enjoy all the city has to offer, and local public safety officials are well-versed in the complicated issues surrounding high-traffic events. The city’s annual Mardi Gras celebrations and Jazz and Heritage Festival require complex strategies and considerable infrastructure to run smoothly year after year. Together with the many national and international sporting, music, and corporate events that occur here each year, New Orleans is a world model for crowd management safety techniques and special event coordination.
Since 2000, there have been nearly 2,500 FEMA Disaster Declarations in the United States. Less than 2% of them occurred in Louisiana. Here, the risk is hurricane. Threats of other disruptive weather, including earthquakes, wildfires, tornadoes, snowstorms, and landslides are rare or non-existent here.
Approximately once every decade, a mandatory evacuation is declared ahead of a severe or dangerous storm that is expected to make landfall. Contraflow lanes are opened allowing quick exits, and each affected parish operates evacuation systems to assist the elderly, handicapped, or those without transportation.
In the Greater New Orleans region, $14.6 billion has been spent on hurricane protection and flood control since 2006, including 133-miles of flood protection and the largest drainage-pump station in the world.