As his second year as NOPD First District Commander dawns, Hans Ganthier plans to focus on curbing the same issues his squad faced last year.
First District, which covers Mid-City and Treme, has worked to decrease armed robberies and response times over the year with its new commander. The number of armed robberies decreased by 52 incidents last year, Ganthier said, and auto burglaries and thefts are also down – even through a rash of incidents late last week.
“These armed robberies, when we put them away, it really stops our issues,” Ganthier said. “We do catch them, we’re really good about catching them.”
There were a total of 14 armed robberies around Mid-City in 2016, which is about 27 percent down from 2015, according to NOPD numbers. There were 14 simple robberies in both 2015 and 2016, but two fewer murders last year than 2015.
Residence burglaries were up by one last year but business burglaries decreased by 44 incidents, Ganthier said.
“That’s quite the difference,” he said.
Ganthier said his focus for 2017 is similar to last year: reduce response times; combat armed robbery stats; and inform and educate the community through engagement. Part of NOPD’s consent decree requires community engagement efforts from the department, and Ganthier said First District is planning events and programs for 2017.
Those programs will include youth development and engagement, Ganthier said, since many people around the district have been asking for something youth-oriented.
Ganthier replaced Otha Sandifer in the First District, who stepped up to Commander of the Compliance Division.
Ganthier has served within NOPD for 18 years, where he first started in the Eighth District and moved on to spend 11 years in the Special Operations Division. From there, he was moved to the Second District and later sent to the Fifth District as Assistant Commander.
Ganthier is also a graduate of Pratt Institute in New York and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in electrical engineering. He served in the Navy for five years after graduating.
Ganthier spoke to officers at the weekly First District crime meeting Tuesday afternoon where sergeants recapped the week’s activities and reminded officers about any protocol and paperwork duties. Officers discussed the city’s first homicide of the year – which occurred in Mid-City – to the dismay of Jim Olsen, chair of the Mid-City Security District.
Olsen said the First District’s misfortune in claiming the first 2017 homicide “is what it is.”
Ganthier, however, hopes for a little less luck throughout the year.
“As long as I don’t keep getting so lucky, we’ll be OK,” he said.