Crime in New Orleans is booming, experts say, and now it has jumped Tourism as the city’s top industry.
According to a report released today by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), crime in the Crescent City has surged 6,730% over the last decade and looks like it may not be done just yet.
“We’ve seen an explosion of crime syndicates in New Orleans over the last few years, and the numbers indicate it isn’t slowing down anytime soon,” said Brock Renton, a research analyst with the BEA.
“Business-wise, that’s a good sign. It’s showing the city is finally developing a more diversified economy that doesn’t rely only on tourism.”
The numbers look promising, and experts agree that crime is the wave of the future. So it’s no surprise area criminals are looking to expand.
Over the last year, more than two dozen kingpins have announced plans to open hundreds of new crime den locations across Greater New Orleans and hire hundreds of employees.
“The increase in crime is great for our economy because all the money and possessions stay local,” said Steve Mayer, a spokesman for Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “The more muggings that occur the more chance those resources never make it out of the city.”
“My friends said I was a dumb shit for coming back to New Orleans after Katrina. Said there’d be no business — no one to rob. But I had faith, and the Lee statue provided,” said Lewis of Ward2Ya Mutha crime syndicate, which has increased its crime rate at least 10% every year since first opening.
“The first few years were tough — you know with the smaller population and all. But I held on, the police force dwindled and now business is booming. I’m looking to open another six crime dens across Metro New Orleans by next year and I’m already in talks of franchising a location in Mandeville. Lord know they got cash money there. For real.”
The Bureau of Economic Analysis says all the expansion plans will be great for those looking for jobs. Crime den owners will need an estimated 4,000 people over the next two years to fill a number of new positions such as coke mules, drug dealers, prostitutes, gang bangers, pickpockets, burglars, elite thieves, and simple crooks.
“There’s a lot of money to be made in this business. You just have to go after it, and beat or shoot him until he gives it up,” said Lewis.
Tourism officials aren’t as enthusiastic about the shift in the local economy, with many worrying that their industry’s fall to number two will ultimately lead to job and revenue loss as the city focuses more on crime.
“No one likes to be a number two,” said John Hack, president of the New Orleans Tourism Association.
City Hall tried eased those concerns in the past few years when former Mayor Landrieu and other local officials worked tirelessly to remove several crime-increasing statues around the city that had caused a significant imbalance in business.
“Mayor Cantrell is committed to continuing Mayor Landrieu’s mission of fighting inequality and making sure there is a level playing field devoid of high-rising statues for all,” said Mayer.