(Information from: The Times-Picayune, http://www.nola.com)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans murder rate climbed last year to 176.

The Times-Picayune reports that's the highest count since 2012 when 193 people were slain in the city.

Murders last year included domestic violence incidents, drug turf wars and high profile cases such as the Nov. 27 mass shooting on Bourbon Street.

LSU criminologist Peter Scharf says the increase calls into question Mayor Mitch Landrieu's strategy to cut the city's high murder rate, saying it hasn't been effective.

But the mayor's office disputes that, saying that killings among young African-American men has gone down. That's been an area of focus for the city. Tyronne Walker from the mayor's office says they are confident in their strategy and will be continuing with it in the new year.

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