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Apr 252017
 

By Claire Byun
cbyun@nolamessenger.com

The Mid-City Security District is considering adding a few neighborhoods to its boundaries when the state-approved statute comes up for renewal in 2019.

It’s also considering dropping a neighborhood if enough residents want out.

Jim Olsen, district commissioner, said the tax-based district is up for renewal in 2019, and it must be approved by voters to run for another four years.

When Olsen was elected to the board in 2012 – and to the commissioner’s chair in 2013 – his goal was to reduce crime to the point of eliminating an extra security detail. That plan was somewhat based on the New Orleans Police Department’s hiring of more officers, but the opposite has occurred over the past few years.

“The security district can’t go away. It just can’t,” Olsen said. “We have to be here.”

So, MCSD officials are revving up their efforts to rewrite the legislation to include other neighborhoods, including the Tulane-Canal area. As of right now, the Tulane Canal neighborhood doesn’t have its own special security patrols and is not included in MCSD. But it could be something TCNA members consider for the future.

Jacob Rickoll, president of the Tulane Canal Neighborhood Association, said the security detail has reduced crime and is worth an investment.

“I think it does work, part of me is thinking that if this works so well we should consider other neighborhoods doing this,” he said.

MCSD voted last year to increase their fees by 10 percent in order to keep up with rising patrol costs and police salaries. The board approved the hike after inflated insurance rates and patrol salaries pushed the projected 2017 budget to more than $1 million.

The district is funded through residential and commercial property fees. The fee increase means Mid-City homeowners now pay $220 per year while businesses shell out $330 at tax time. It was the first time the district has raised the fee in the eight years since its inception.

While Tulane Canal is considering joining the security district, the Parkview neighborhood might not be included in the 2019 boundaries. Olsen said he’s been to several Parkview Neighborhood Association meetings and several members said they’d rather not be included in the district anymore.

“If Parkview wants to get out, we’re going to let them,” Olsen said.

Harley Winer, MCSD board member, said those against the security district may just be a vocal minority. He suggested Olsen check the previous vote totals to see how many people in Parkview actually voted for the district.

“It probably passed by the same margin as everyone else,” Winer said.

Officials from the Parkview Neighborhood Association were not reachable by press time Tuesday.

Regardless of who is – or isn’t – included in the 2019 renewal, MCSD officials have to start writing new legislation soon.

  3 Responses to “Possible new MCSD boundaries could exclude Parkview”

  1. Over the past several years, since it’s inception, I’ve called on a few occasions and always got the same response…”this is not a security issue, you need to call NOPD”. What exactly is a security issue? I don’t see any point in paying for this service if the are just going to refer to the NOPD. I vote to remove our neighborhood from their duty. Canal, S. Bernadotte, S. Carrollton, and Banks.

  2. My understanding is that you aren’t supposed to call them directly but call 911 and MCSD will be dispatched as appropriate. They are essentially an additional resource for 911 calls for mid-city.

    • That is exactly right, Tom. The Mid-City Security District (MCSD) provides additional NOPD officer staffed patrols in Mid-City. The officers on these patrols prioritize response to 911 calls and emergency alarms that report to 911. Like any other sworn NOPD officers, they have the power to detain, arrest, and write traffic tickets.

      Any calls to 911 or the NOPD non-emergency number 504-821-2222 go to the Dispatch Center. The Dispatch Center sends out the call and its priority, and both NOPD and MCSD can respond. There is no separate number to call MCSD – residents should call 911 or non-emergency. The first available officer will respond.

      It is important to note that MCSD officers are not on the same duty as officers from NOPD 1st District and 3rd District. MCSD does not investigate crimes, that goes to the District. Certain non-emergency calls will not generate an MCSD response, because MCSD’s priority is response to emergencies and crimes in progress.

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