NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - After heavy criticism, NOPD Supt. Michael Harrison on Wednesday announces another initiative to reduce crime.
No matter who you speak to in the French Quarter, the sentiments are the same. Resident Brett Massony says, "You don't like to feel unsafe where you live, you just don't, you don't."
"I walk everywhere down here, and right now I don't feel safe," Fran Ordoyne said.
Meg Lousteau, director of the Vieux Carre Property Owners Association says, "Everybody that I know in the French Quarter is terrified,"
It's not just in the Quarter. Residents in other parts of the city concur.
"We're working to make sure every single community is safe, not just one community but every community," NOPD Supt. Michael Harrison said.
Just before Christmas, Harrison created a special task force of eight officers, charged with pro-actively patrolling to reduce violent crime. On Wednesday, he doubled the size of the unit.
Harrison explains, "We located just last week, two subjects at the back of the French Quarter armed with weapons that were tied to several armed robberies and so around the city we're having some success and so what we want to do is double down on that."
"I think anything that puts more officers on the streets is great," Lousteau said.
Massony adds, "I would hope that it works."
Each day, the unit may receive a new area to patrol. It all depends on which neighborhood needs the extra hands the most. "Between the hours of 6:25 p.m. and 3 a.m., these officers will be deployed as one unit to patrol hot spots," Harrison said.
Some officers are being shifted from administrative positions to be on the task force; others are coming from various districts. But that won't leave the districts even more short staffed than they already are. "We're not losing anything because we're doubling the overtime, so now commanders can backfill positions in the district using overtime," said Harrison.
It'll take some time before it's determined what type of an impact the task force has on crime. French Quarter residents we spoke to, say at this point, any little bit helps.