May 192017

Mid-City crime nearly doubled last month compared to the year before, and officials are placing some of that blame on the now-dismantled Jefferson Davis monument.

The Mid-City Security District responded to 48 total crimes in April, according to New Orleans Police Department figures. The year before there were 27 reported crimes. Jim Olsen, MCSD commissioner, said the controversy surrounding the removal of the Jefferson Davis monument last week took up much of the police department’s resources.

“We’ve been out there doing what we’ve always been doing, but there were some distractions last month,” Olsen said.

While the statue didn’t come down until last week, monument supporters started camping out at the site on April 24. Tensions flared in early May as counter-protestors clashed with monument supporters, leading police to barricade the area around the statue for nearly two weeks. During that time, an NOPD supervisor and four patrol officers were stationed at the monument all day, every day.

The NOPD’s First District had a rough week last week too, with nine auto burglaries reported in five different zones. Sgt. Kenny Temple, who oversees property crimes in the district, also said officers responded to two residential burglaries over the last week.

“We were kept busy with the statue,” Temple said during the district’s weekly crime trends meeting Tuesday.

Officers also responded to a shooting Thursday where a man was shot on Canal Street where a man was shot in the shoulder, along with an aggravated assault – which was cleared by arrest – according to Sgt. Gary Lewis.

Police responded to an armed robbery on N. Lopez Street where a victim said a man came up from behind while she was pulling up in her driveway, demanding money and her purse. The victim ran into her house – where the suspect followed her – and the two got into a brief struggle. The victim noticed the suspect had a gun, dropper her purse and the suspect ran out, police said.

Officers have a video from the neighbor’s home and are still investigating, Lewis said.

The Mid-City Security District responded to 11 auto thefts and four assaults last month, according to NOPD statistics. Olsen said crime numbers in Mid-City have already decreased this month now that officers don’t have to guard the statue, and some of the possible trouble-makers may have moved on to other parts of the city.

“These guys move around and they decided to come to Mid-City last month,” Olsen said.

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