New Orleans -- New numbers from NOPD show violent crime last year rose six percent. Now, as the police department works to reduce the numbers, another state agency has come up with a unique approach to the problem -- and it involves senior citizens.
A little over a month ago, a popular Hollygrove bar was raided and over 20 people were arrested. Alcohol and Tobacco Control agents say the raid came about after they received numerous tips from residents complaining about the establishment.
“There was plenty of drug activity there,” ATC agent Melissa Peri said.
Now, the Alcohol and Tobacco Control Agency is teaming up with AARP, an organization that works with older Americans, to solicit even more tips. The two agencies met Wednesday morning to discuss their plan of action. During the meeting, Brette Tingle, a special agent with the Alcohol and Tobacco Control Agency, said, “You'll get people that want to do something, that want to be proactive in their communities and they just want someone to get behind them.”
AARP will meet with and encourage residents to give anonymous tips about problems they see in their neighborhoods. ATC agents will be investigating the tips that AARP receives. In fact, those agents were responsible for the raid at the Big Time Tips bar in Hollygrove last month. That raid led to the bar's closure.
Jason Tudor, who does community outreach with the AARP, says closing the bar will improve the quality of life of Hollygrove residents. He explains that public safety concerns can often be incredibly detrimental to seniors. “For older adults, it often is something that causes isolation, a fear of leaving their home. It can also affect your health,” Tudor said.
Resident Joanne Duncan says she'll take advantage of the new program, telling us, “I think that’s a good idea.” Duncan says the fact that both murders and rapes rose 13 percent last year compared to 2010 scares her.
Duncan is the type of person Tudor says the AARP is here to help. But he says one agency can't do all the work alone. “We're not going to solve the crime problem in New Orleans until we all start working together and that includes residents, neighborhood organizations, elected officials and law enforcement,” Tudor explained.
If you have a tip about crime in your area, you can call the Alcohol and Tobacco Control Agency at 504-568-7069.