Violent crime in Louisiana was down three percent year to year in 2018, and the murder rate is down eight points according to new FBI crime data.

LSU Health New Orleans Criminologist Peter Sharf says the murder rate decline is largely thanks to an 8 percent drop in the Crescent City.

“New Orleans accounts for a good percentage of the murders in the state, so a reduction in your highest murder city, New Orleans, will reflect elsewhere,” said Sharf.

2019’s murder rate decrease may be even more dramatic as Sharf says New Orleans appears set to see a nearly 30 percent drop in murders this year.

Sharf credits reinvestment from the criminal justice reform, new crime prevention programs in New Orleans, and statewide adoption of 21st-century police training programs.

“Police are becoming much more efficient in terms of predictive analytics, and using statistical models to predict crimes, and crime patterns before they occur,” said Sharf.

The state also saw a three percent decrease in property crime.

Despite the good news Louisiana still leads the nation with the highest murder rate, and Sharf says our murder rate is roughly ten times that of New York’s. He says there’s a lot of work to be done.

“This is a down payment on what will probably be a ten-year effort to get New Orleans and Louisiana into the mainstream of the society,” said Sharf.

Nationwide the violent crime rate was also down three percent.