By Claire Byun
Personal crime incidents over the last four weeks were nearly two-thirds higher than the previous four weeks, though property crime has decreased.
New Orleans Police Department’s First District reported a total of 28 persons crime over the last four weeks. The previous month saw 18 persons crimes – which includes armed robberies, assaults and homicides – and doesn’t include the most recent homicides.
To cut down on personal crime, First District Commander Hans Ganthier is sending most of his resources to “hotspots” such as the Tulane Avenue and Ulloa Street neighborhoods. That area was the site of two murders over the last week.
“This is why I have everybody in this area,” Ganthier said. “We’ve pretty much put everything in there.”
Mallory LeBlanc, co-founder of the Tulane Banks Neighborhood Association, thanked First District officials at their weekly meeting Tuesday. She said neighbors have noticed the increased police presence, which makes living in the recently-violent area feel much safer.
She’s also appreciative that the neighborhood is getting most of the district’s resources to tamp down on narcotic and personal crime.
“You guys are doing a really great job, and we’re so thankful,” LeBlanc said.
One recent incident involved a woman who was leaving the Broad Theater when she was approached by a man who pointed a gun at her and demanded money. The victim gave the suspect her purse and he fled, dropping a few items from the handbag as he ran, according to St. Gary Lewis.
Several waves of officers were sent to the area to find the suspect, but Lewis said the suspect must live near the area because nobody matching the description was found.
First District officers also responded to an attempted armed robbery on Bienville Street where two armed suspects got into an Uber and demanded money. The suspects then told the victim to drive up Bienville – near the 3600 block – at which point they fired five shots at the vehicle, Lewis said.
One of the suspects was struck by a bullet, Lewis said. A little while later, a hospital reported a patient with gunshot wounds in his left side, and police are waiting on DNA evidence before making any arrests.
If the blood samples from the vehicle and the hospital patient’s shirt match, Lewis said officers will get a warrant.
“He’s in critical condition in the hospital,” Lewis said, “but we strongly believe he’s the suspect.”
Property crime, in contrast, dropped by 30 incidents over the last four weeks compared to the previous four weeks. There were 20 reports of theft over those four weeks, however, which is “unusually high,” Ganthier said.
“We need to take a look at that,” he said.