By Claire Byun
Property crimes decreased last week compared to last year, which is good news leading up to one of the most crime-heavy weeks of the year.
New Orleans Police Department’s First District is readying itself for the barrage of parades and parties leading up to Fat Tuesday. Many of those crimes are property crimes involving auto burglaries and thefts, so Commander Hans Ganthier warned his troops to be ready for the Mardi Gras crowd.
“Traditionally everybody goes to the parade, but I need you guys to be aware of armed robberies and vehicle crimes,” Ganthier said during the district’s weekly meeting Tuesday.
Ganthier also asked officers to make sure the reported vehicles are stolen and not just towed away, especially on parade days.
Property crimes totaled 28 incidents over the last week and totals 176 since the beginning of the year, police said. As of Tuesday, that number is 33 incidents less than last year, which Ganthier said is a good start to beat past crime trends.
“We had kind of a rough start to the year, so we’re trying to make up some ground,” he said.
There were five reported auto burglaries last week, including an instance where a gun was taken from an unlocked car, Sgt. Kenny Temple said. That’s fewer instances from the past few weeks, but police are still actively encouraging people to lock their vehicles to prevent becoming a victim.
Two business burglaries were reported and one residence burglary was cleared by a warrant, Temple said. First District has been hit twice by a suspect stealing rolled wire from a local business, so Ganthier suggested putting more patrols in that area during the times they’ve been hit.
“He’s going to hit again,” Ganthier said.
One armed robbery was reported over the last week and officers responded to two simple robberies, Sgt. Gary Lewis said. One of those robberies occurred Feb. 8 when the victim, a woman in her 20s, got into a vehicle with a man she thought was her Uber drive.
Before the victim got out, the driver demanded her bag containing $140, debit cards and her ID, police said.
“He was posing as an Uber driver; he was obviously not an Uber driver,” Lewis said.