189342 Measuring homicide and other population-based rates in post-Katrina New Orleans

Monday, October 27, 2008: 4:50 PM

Mark J. VanLandingham, Ph D , Department of International Health and Development, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
Dominique Meekers, PhD , Dept. of International Health and Development, Tulane University SPHTM, New Orleans, LA
Hongyun Fu, M A , Department of International Health and Development, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
Rates are defined as events divided by exposure, i.e., person-years lived during the period of interest. Under normal circumstances, the mid-year population is a reasonable approximation for person-years lived during a calendar year. The depopulation of New Orleans at the end of August 2005 due to Hurricane Katrina makes this standard approach useless for estimating rates. In this paper we employ the best population series available to estimate exposure during the years 2005-2007, and then use these measures of exposure to estimate the murder rate for New Orleans during these years occurring just before and immediately after Hurricane Katrina. This procedure results in much more accurate and much higher murder rates than those reported by local officials and in the local media; the murder rate in New Orleans in 2007 is the highest on record for the city. We also present age and sex distributions for homicide victims in the city and illustrate how these have changed over time.

Learning Objectives:
Procedures for calculating population-based rates after catastrophic events will be illustrated. Trends and differentials in murder rates will be illustrated

Keywords: Disasters, Homicide

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have done considerable research on the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the ability to measure homicide patterns and other population-based rates.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.