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NOPD boosts security after rash of French Quarter robberies and attacks

29th December 2014   ·   0 Comments

State police to patrol city’s interstates

As the holiday season reaches a feverish pitch and fans began heading to New Orleans for college football bowl games, the city announced that it will get much-needed help from Louisiana State Police, who earlier this month completed a four-month deployment to New Orleans after a brazen shooting in late June on Bourbon Street that left one woman dead and nine others wounded.

The state troopers will patrol the city’s interstates, freeing up additional NOPD officers to help out in the French Quarter. Before the recent New Orleans Bowl game, the NOPD announced the use of an additional 200 NOPD officers in the French Quarter to keep visitors, and locals safe.

Before the announcement, the city was scrambling to get a handle on a rash of violent crime and armed robberies in the French Quarter, once considered one of the safest parts of the city.

Police reports and local news stories reveal that this is no longer the case in the wake of a series of brutal attacks and armed robberies in the Vieux Carré.

FOX 8 News reported recently that New Orleans police are searching for three men following a string of armed robberies in the French Quarter area. New surveillance video of the suspects has been released.

Officers have released composite sketches of the suspects, believed to be responsible for four armed robberies around the French Quarter.

On December 1, shortly after 11:00 p.m., two female victims were walking in the 1200 block of Bourbon Street when they were approached by two suspects, one armed with a gun. Police say the suspects demanded property from the victims. The victims gave the suspects their purses, police say. The suspects subsequently fled down Bourbon Street toward Esplanade Avenue.

FOX 8 reported that a second offense occurred on December 3 around 1 a.m. The victims, a 22-year-old female and 26-year-old male, were talking near the intersection of North Rampart and Mandeville Streets when one suspect, armed with a gun, approached and demanded their property. Police say the victims complied and gave the suspect their wallets. The suspect subsequently fled down North Rampart Street turning onto Mandeville Street.

A 51-year-old woman also fell victim on December 4. Officers say she was walking in the 500 block of Dauphine Street when she was approached by two suspects, one armed with a gun. The suspects demanded the victim’s property. However, when the victim advised she did not have anything, the armed suspect struck her in the back of the head with the gun, police say. Both suspects subsequently fled down Saint Louis Street toward Bourbon Street.

On December 7, 2014, at approximately 5:00 a.m., a man and two women were walking in the 500 block of Saint Philip Street when they were approached by three suspects, one armed with a gun. The gunman demanded the victims’ property at which time two of the victims complied and gave the suspects their wallets and cell phones, police say. The suspects subsequently fled down St. Philip Street toward the river.

The suspects were described as Black males, thin build, approximately 5’8” to 6’ tall and approximately 19-years-old.

Other parts of the city are also experiencing a rise in violent crime. Visions, a gentleman’s club on Downman Road in eastern New Orleans. recently was the target of an armed robbery with at least one stripper being tied up by suspects and $7,000 taken from an ATM machine in the building.

In another brazen crime committed earlier this fall, suspects broke into Castnet’s seafood restaurant and stole several thousand dollars. Video surveillance reportedly showed that the suspects were also responsible for the burglary of a Boost Mobile store in Gentilly.

Fearing a rise in crime, French Quarter business owners and residents tried to sign a petition asking Louisiana State Police to not end their deployment to New Orleans last month to no avail.

“At the very least, they provided a deterrent to criminals by maintaining a presence in the French Quarter,” a worker who did not wish to provide her name, told The Louisiana Weekly. “With the state troopers gone, the French Quarter feels vulnerable and unstable.”

The worker said she and her co-workers have used a “buddy system: to keep themselves safe after the state troopers’ departure. “While we may not be completely safe, there is some level of safety and sanity in numbers,” she said.

While criminals appear to be taking advantage of the undermanned NOPD’s struggles to protect the entire city, the French Quarter has appeared to be noticeably more dangerous a place to work, live and/or visit in recent weeks.

Police say a group of eight people attacked three others in the French Quarter two weeks ago, stabbing one man and sending him to the hospital while robbing the others.

The incident occurred in the 1000 block of Governor Nicholls Street just after 10 p.m.
According to police spokesperson Hilal Williams, a 21-year-old man was walking down the street when he said eight people — one armed with a gun —surrounded him and demanded his cell phone.

The victim said that at that point, the gunman took note of two other men walking nearby and ordered the others to “go get them,” WWL reported

Those two men — ages 43 and 21 — said three of the suspects surrounded them and one of them took out a knife and began stabbing the 43-year-old man in the chest.

The suspects fled the scene and the stabbing victim was rushed to the hospital.

Officer Williams told WWL that an investigation is ongoing and that the NOPD will update the public when additional information becomes available.

While police have made a number of arrests over the past week, it has asked the public to come forward to share information about these violent crimes and others that have taken place, including another shooting on Bourbon Street on Dec. 32.

Police are asking anyone with information on the incident to call Crimestoppers at (504) State police 822-1111.

A NOPD spokesman had some advice for visitors and locals about how to avoid becoming a victim of crime. “Stay on the beaten path,” NOPD First District Commander Jeffrey Walls told FOX 8 recently. “Don’t make yourself an easy target.”

This article originally published in the December 29, 2014 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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