By Claire Byun
Special to Mid-City Messenger
This year’s crime trends around Mid-City are similar to last year’s, but last week officers with the Mid-City Security District said they were working on ways to bring those numbers down.
Auto thefts in September peaked at 10, mostly due to people leaving their doors unlocked or cars running. Mid-City residents reported seven vehicle burglaries last month, but only one incident featured any evidence of an actual break-in, according to statistics from the New Orleans Police Department.
Jim Olsen, chairman of MCSD, reiterated Thursday what board members and police say at every security district meeting: lock your doors.
“If we could just get people to lock their cars…it’s really pretty simple,” Olsen said.
Mid-City officers are still dealing with the October killing of three people on Ulloa Street – the city’s first triple homicide of the year. One victim died at the scene, police said, and two others died at a hospital. Two other male victims were taken to a hospital for their injuries.
That crime, along with several other violent offenses, are centered around a social club called The Playhouse, Olsen said. MCSD officials are planning to team up with the city’s public safety committee to curb crime in that area, possibly through requiring valid liquor licenses or improving rental conditions.
Olsen said MCSD will coordinate with the city’s Alcohol and Beverage Control Board and the Mid-City Neighborhood Organization to reduce violent crimes around the Tulane Corridor. Part of that solution may come from encouraging landlords to research prospective tenants before renting, he added.
“If you’re a cheap landlord, you end up with cheap tenants,” said Harley Winer, board member. “There’s not law that says you can’t be a cheap landlord, and that’s the root of the problem.”
Olsen said MCSD has to work alongside neighborhood and city officials to reduce crime along Ulloa, which may mean “getting the bad guys to move somewhere else.”
Security district officials also hope that an improved website – which will list details on area crimes as soon as they’re reported to police – will help cut down on the steady crime trends. As of now some residents resist calling police when they witness a crime due to several reasons, Olsen said, including sluggish response times in the past.
A fear of being a “snitch” is another reason people hesitate to report crimes in action, but others may see calling the police as someone else’s responsibility. The only way to reduce Mid-City crime is by being an active participant regardless of the organization, Olsen said.
“It’s going to be a coordinated effort between everyone,” he said.
NOPD reported two aggravated assaults during September and ten burglaries – nine were residential. An officer caught a perpetrator in the act during one of the home robberies, and officials discovered the suspect was responsible for other area break-ins, Olsen said.
There were 11 thefts reported last month, according to police statistics, and those ranged from someone refusing to pay cab fare to another suspect stealing a package off a home’s porch.