Crime in New Orleans sharply increases after Hurricane Katrina

Friday, September 2, 2005

Reports out of New Orleans on September 1 stated that victims of Hurricane Katrina were being raped and beaten and that fights and fires were out of control, leaving corpses laying in the open as the city descended into anarchy.

“We have individuals who are getting raped, we have individuals who are getting beaten,” New Orleans Police Chief Eddie Compass said. Compass said that the 15,000 to 20,000 people who were at the New Orleans convention center awaiting buses grew increasingly hostile and had beat back 88 officers he had sent there to try to keep the peace.

“Tourists are walking in that direction and they are getting preyed upon,” Compass had said.

Reports of rampant violence though may have been overblown, even by New Orleans standards, as many reports of sensational violence have not been verified. "During a week when communications were difficult, rumours have acquired a particular currency. They acquired through repetition the status of established facts."

Indeed, White House press secretary Scott McClellan told a group of journalists on Wednesday that "martial law has been declared in Mississippi and Louisiana." though this was never the case as such a move would require a situation of lawlessness beyond the scope of local authorities to handle.