By Claire Byun
Auto thefts increased across New Orleans Police Department’s First District last week, leading the district commander to remind the public to lock their vehicle doors.
First District officials held their weekly COMSTAT meeting Tuesday afternoon to discuss crimes over the last week. Sgt. Kenny Temple, who oversees property crimes, said there’s been eight auto thefts within the last week. The incidents are scattered across the district — no one zone has been affected more than the others — and more than half of the cars were not locked, Temple said.
Eleven out of the last 17 vehicles stolen in the First District were not locked, he added.
“Don’t leave your stuff unlocked,” said district Commander Hans Ganthier. “That’s an easy way to not become a victim.”
First District officers responded to 54 reports of property crimes last week, including five business burglaries, nine incidents of thefts and four reports of shoplifting. Police are searching for a suspect connected to at least two — but possibly three — of those business burglaries, Temple said.
An unknown white male was seen entering a business in the area on Friday around 2:38 a.m., NOPD said. The suspect went to the fourth floor office and forcefully opened the front door, taking some eyeglasses, coins and food items. He then went to the second floor, forcefully opened the door to another business and took a laptop computer before leaving.
Sgt. Gary Lewis, who oversees persons crime, said there were six armed robberies last week, all spread throughout the district. One of those incidents was cleared by an arrest.
There’s been 14 armed robberies this year in the First District compared to 20 in the Fifth District, with 94 total throughout the city, according to police statistics. Most of the robberies occur on Tuesdays, but Mondays and Thursdays also log more robberies than any other days. Most incidents occur between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m.
“With this, we know to man people on what days and times that hit us most,” Ganthier said.
Lewis also said there’s been two simple robberies within the last week, though one was cleared by an arrest. Lewis said he plans to spread officers to new problem zones, though Ganthier said the district needs to focus on Mid-City crime before dropping coverage.
“I don’t want to chase crime around,” Ganthier said. “Let’s keep that up until we catch all these guys or they move somewhere else.”