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Early morning attempted robbery leaves man wounded

Police say men wearing hoodies attempted an armed robbery at Dumaine and Chartres. Police say men wearing hoodies attempted an armed robbery at Dumaine and Chartres.

New Orleans, La. — Police say a local man took a bullet in the French Quarter early Monday when he tried to grab the gun of a would-be robber.

The police department said a man and two females were walking in the 600 block of Dumaine Street about 4:25 a.m. in hopes of finding a taxi, but they encountered a trio of alleged criminals.

"I think that every time that there's a crime in the French Quarter it harms the city's reputation as a whole," said Robert Watters, chairman of the French Quarter Management District.

The NOPD says the three male suspects were wearing hoodie jackets and walked up behind the man and two females, and one of them brandished a weapon and demanded money. Cops said when the male victim tried to knock the pistol out of the suspect's hand, the gun fired, and a bullet struck the male victim in the right shoulder.

He was taken to University Hospital where police said he was listed as stable.

"Makes me uncomfortable for driving down here, having to park…I mean it's just, it's very disheartening," said Shannon Atwater, owner of a shop in the area where the crime occurred.

Security cameras in the vicinity could help investigators, but Watters said more human resources are required in the French Quarter.  "When you have police resources being diminished I think the criminals become aware of that," he said.

For its part, the NOPD said Monday that both violent crime and property crimes are down two percent in the French Quarter. The solve rate for crimes involving persons is 48 percent, and the armed robberies solve rate is even higher at 62 percent, said the NOPD.

But the department admits there are fewer cops in the 8th Police District. According to the department, the 8th District had 126 officers in 2012; now the number is 114.

"While the 8th District has 12 fewer officers than it had last year, the officers' hard work is paying off, as both violent and property crimes are down this year compared to last year at this time. The 8th also has the highest crime solve rate in the city right now. Finally, NOPD is slated to graduate at least two recruit classes later this year," said Remi Braden, Director of Public Affairs for the Police Department.

Watters said the French Quarter Management District is looking at ways to increase private security. "We're going to be trying to impose levies on businesses to be able to provide additional funding with the idea that we can make the French Quarter safer and more secure," said Watters.

"I know taxes just went up and not everyone would want to pay, but I do think it's a good thing, especially for tourism," Atwater said.

Matthew Walls lives near the crime scene. He does not blame police for what happened.

"I feel like the NOPD does a great job, they do patrol this area quite a bit. I spend a lot of time on my balcony outside and I'm constantly seeing units roll through" he said.

Watters said they are working on an initiative to place cameras in crime hot spots.  He also encourages residents and businesses with security cameras to register them with the SafeCams8 program, so that police will have faster access to video when crimes occur.

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