Jun 212017

Crime around the Mid-City Security District stayed on an even keel last month compared to the rest of 2017, though auto thefts and auto burglaries increased.

MCSD responded to 12 auto thefts last month and cleared two of those crimes, Palumbo said. One vehicle was left unlocked, two were left with left keys in the ignition and only one showed evidence of a forced entry.

Since only one was physically forced open, Palumbo said the other cases were probably left unlocked too – but the victims didn’t realize it or didn’t want police to know.

“It must have been a locksmith that did it,” joked Harley Winer, MCSD board member.

Officers also responded to 12 thefts, including five bike thefts; two bikes were left unlocked and one suspect cut the bike lock off, Palumbo said. Suspects also stole power tools and air conditioning units last month, though the total number of thefts decreased by 2 from last May.

There were eight reported burglaries last month, including one business burglary. Many of those incidents may be cleared after arrests of four “Felony Lane Gang” members in Baton Rouge last month, Palumbo said.

The gang is known nationally for traveling in groups and breaking into vehicles to steal checks, debit cards and IDs of mostly-female victims. Four Florida men were arrested last month in connection to a string of auto burglaries, and Palumbo said they may have hit some areas of New Orleans, too.

“Those guys are going to be good for things all over the city, especially Lakeview,” he said.

Mid-City police responded to four incidents of auto burglaries in April, which is a huge dip from the prior year. March 2016 produced 31 auto burglaries across the security district.

Last month, the MCSD handled eight auto burglaries. That’s double the amount reported last May, according to police statistics.

For months the security district and NOPD’s First District have been talking about signal boosters used by thieves to unlock car doors. The boosters transmit the car’s key fob signal from a greater distance, allowing thieves to unlock car doors even if the victim’s keys are not near the vehicle.

Police suggest locking your keys in a metal box, special signal-resistent pouch or even wrapping them in aluminum foil.

“I didn’t know if it was just one of those rumors of a boogeyman,” said Houston Hoskins, newest MCSD board member.

At least for now, there’s little evidence suspects around Mid-City are using those boosters, Palumbo said.

“I do think it exists, but I don’t think any of our local thieves are sophisticated to use that,” Palumbo said.

Police responded to a total of 48 crimes, including eight auto burglaries and two assaults. There were two reported simple robberies, two rapes and a murder in the district last month.

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