NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - French Quarter businesses are making a financial investment in better police presence on Bourbon Street.
On Tuesday, the French Quarter Business League presented a check for $42,000 to the French Quarter Management District to fund a new initiative called Bourbon Patrol, which will be a contingent of off-duty NOPD officers.
The Convention and Visitors Bureau will match the donation.
A big focus of the patrols will be in the early-morning hours when many of the crimes of opportunity occur.
"There's 14 business owners that represent 50 to 60 businesses in and around Bourbon Street, and we put the money out of our pockets to get to this cost," said Alex Fein, President of the French Quarter Business League.
"What we're going to try and do is focus a lot of the hours in the wee hours of the morning when there are less resources on the street, when the State Police are easing up on their deployment, the mounted police are actually ending their deployment," said Bob Simms of the French Quarter Management District who heads the security task force for the FQMD.
The head of the Eighth Police District that includes the French Quarter welcomes the help.
"At one point, you'll have up to five officers, additional on the Bourbon promenade, that's that visible deterrent, prevents crimes from occurring. It also prevents things from happening off of Bourbon Street, because lot of times we'll have people followed from Bourbon Street," Commander Jeff Walls said.
Fein said the businesses contributed about $1,200 each.
"The original idea was to be on a monthly basis, but now that we've got State Police down, we have the Sidney Torres detail, we're really just trying to contribute to one large pot to try to extend this out as long as possible," Fein said.
The NOPD officers working as part of Bourbon Patrol will wear their regular uniforms, but will don baseball caps to differentiate themselves from the regular NOPD officers working normal shifts.
Simms said the officers will patrol from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. Initially there will be up to five off-duty cops involved in the patrols along Bourbon and some surrounding streets.
"We know when we're having our problems, and most of our problems occur later at night into the early morning hours, and that's when we wanted to focus on with most of these patrols and that's what's going to help us the most," Walls said.
The patrols begin June 1.