Killing rate surges since Katrina

The latest crime statistics released by the New Orleans Police Department show an increase in homicides and violent crime over the same period last year that, according to one criminologist, clearly outpaces the city's population growth.

The statistics, released late Friday by e-mail, also show a slight shift downward in murders, rapes and robberies compared with the last three months of 2006. The numbers detail the first three months of 2007, when 48 people were killed in New Orleans, according to the NOPD, a rate of one victim every 1.8 days.

The department also reported 14 rapes, 190 armed robberies, 54 simple robberies and 447 assaults in the first quarter of this year. Violent crime was up a total of 107 percent compared with the same period last year, according to the department.