Three carjackings in three hours have neighbors on alert

Ryan Williams says he still can't believe his neighbor just down Jamison Street in New Orleans East was carjacked early Sunday morning.

"That's never happened around here, never ever," he exclaimed. "We look out for each other. Folks around here have cameras too. For that to happen, it's kind rare."

But Williams's neighbor wasn't alone. New Orleans Police said she was the latest victim in a string of carjackings, all within hours of each other.

According to NOPD, the first happened Uptown around 10:30 p.m. Saturday. Officers say a woman pulled up to her driveway and was approached by three men. One of those men pulled out a gun and demanded her purse and car keys. Police say he then hit her with the weapon, and all three took off with her purse and vehicle.

The second carjacking happened in the 6100 block of Dorthea Street in New Orleans East. Police say around 1:00 a.m. a man pulled into his home and saw two armed men. He was able to scare off his attackers by pressing the alarm button on his keys.

The last carjacking happened on Jamison St., thirty minutes after the incident on Dorthea Street. Police say a woman came home to find two armed men on her driveway. They demanded she get out of the vehicle and took off in the car.

The NOPD thinks the carjackings may be related, but they are still investigating. 

The recent crimes have been enough to startle both neighbors and visitors to the area. Shannon McCole's aunt lives near Jamison St., and she visits her often.

"For someone to just come up on me, demand my vehicle," said McCole. "I don't know what I could've done."

McCole and the neighbors say better lighting would help.

"You come in at night and there's no lighting," said McCole. "It's really dark and the way things are at night, we're really afraid."

There are lights in the neighborhood around Dorthea St. and Jamison St., but neighbors say not all of them work. They also say the functioning ones aren't bright enough.

"At nighttime, we have dark spots due to the new LED lights," said Williams. "We got a lot of dark spots here and here," he explained, gesturing along the street behind him. "It actually looks like we got no lights."

And until the city fixes that problem, Williams says he won't be out in the dark.

"We stay inside," said Williams.

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