the NOPD's crime map to see how many reported crimes took place within two miles of my new address since June 1. Answer: Zero.
Not a bad track record. I can walk Ursulines Street and St. Bernard Avenue without a care in the world. The crime map does offer a caveat, however: "The City of New Orleans makes no representation that the information is accurate, complete, confirmed, investigated, timely, consistent, or correctly sequenced. Users must not consider the information reliable..." You agree to this disclaimer before you are allowed to check any statistics, such as they are.
I've been monitoring some internet chatter about a rash of break-ins and attempted rapes and robberies in the 7th and 9th wards, around Marigny-Bywater. I'm quick to dismiss things as alarmist, especially when reports contain bandanna-masked desperadoes kicking in doors.
If it's not on the crime map and it's not in the Times-Picayune, New Orleans paper of record, how much weight should I place on loose talk heard in the street?
Some young women from the Bywater neighborhood came to view our apartment last night. We made chitchat while they talked amongst themselves about how much more room this apartment would give them over their current half shotgun. "Why are moving up here?" I asked. "Because there's a crime spree in the Bywater and we don't feel safe," they answered in triplicate.
I'm more inclined to trust these ladies' gut instinct than I am to trust a crime map that says no crime, no matter how petty, has not been committed across a vast swath of the city for six months. No news may be good news but sometimes it's just ignorance forced from above. I can understand the only city-wide newspaper of national repute not wanting to paint the city with a tarred brush, but withholding news is not a newspaper's mission.
I've been reading the T-P the past few days with more than my usual diligence. I learned today that the film "Black Swan" deserves only three stars. "Yogi Bear" got a star and a half. I haven't read the Lifestyle section yet, just the first section, the metropolitan section, and the lagniappe. Maybe unsafe conditions are in Lifestyle; it is a city lifestyle issue much more than comic strips advice columns and diet advice.
So, is everything rosy in the Crescent City? No. It is a city, no matter what the truth may be, bad things happen, distasteful things, the kind of things people try to protect their children from experiencing. There is so much good in New Orleans that is leavened by the criminal. Criminals are everywhere. That is why we make laws. Some laws are just, others a nuisance. Breaking and entering no matter what else follows, is a crime. This is news that should be counterbalanced and outweighed by the positive happenings in a city as big as this with as big a heart.
The T-P and the NOPD are in cahoots, letting pastel be the shade of the day by omitting details. They do us a disservice. I'm not moving away. I just bought a house because I believe in this city. The administration and the media cheat me of making a responsible decision based on the city's character painted as a whole. Luckily, I don't rely on the NOPD or the T-P to guide my decisions. I am alive on the streets, I take the good and the bad, weigh each hand-to-hand like Osiris balancing a feather against a cardiac weight. New Orleans is good no matter how you describe it, warts and all, every facet, every wrinkle, every pock mark, every scar.
I am happy to live here no matter what I am supposed to know. I know New Orleans is good and I made the correct decision to plant my roots in the Mississippi mud. I am home and I raise a toast to the Crescent City. Long may it thrive. I am onboard for the journey for the rest of the decades I have left to do the deed.