Source AP ©

New Orleans is capital of murder

New Orleans is America's murder capital.

The latest FBI figures say the 162 murders in 2006 made New Orleans far bloodier than any other place in the country.

The FBI put New Orleans' 2006 population at 431,153, not even accounting for the city's losses from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. At that population, the murder rate would be 38 murders per 100,000 residents - eighth out of 254 cities with more than 100,000 residents.

But even the most generous current estimate of about 255,000 residents would mean a rate of 63.5 murders per 100,000 residents.

The city with the next highest per-capita rate, Gary, Indiana, is 48.3 per 100,000 people, according to the statistics. Close behind is Detroit at 47.1.

So far this year, New Orleans has had 82 murders through Monday.

"If you live here it's no surprise," said Ken Foster, a co-founder of the local group, "Silence is Violence." "If you've been following the crime the past couple of years, you knew it was going to be that way."

Louisiana's governor just extended the stay of 300 National Guardsmen through November. The troops, along with 60 state police officers, are in town to support the city's depleted police force.

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