In 2010, incoming mayor Mitch Landrieu cited a "systematic failure" of New Orleans' police department for its inability to bring down the city's soaring homicide rate.
"The police department is supposed to protect and serve, but right now it's not doing either of those things well," he said in a CNN interview when he first took office in 2010. "My top priority is to make this city safe. It can't be safe without a police department that people trust."
There's still a lot of work to be done. The city's murder rate is 20% higher than Detroit and nine times higher than cities like New York and San Francisco. The number of killings in the Big Easy jumped to 199 in 2011 from 175 the year before.
Source: CQ Presscompiled this index using data reported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation's"Crime in the United States 2011." *The crime index is a weighted average of six crime categories murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, and motor vehicle theft. The national rate is 1 and any number higher than that indicates a higher than average incidence of crime. **List includes cities with populations of 250,000 or more.
By Les Christie @CNNMoney - Last updated January 23 2013 03:22 PM ET