NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - "He was coming around the corner. He just had a bottle of wine and $20 bucks on him. These guys made the block, and then they came around the corner. They jumped out, and said 'stick em' up,'" says a withness who asked not to be identified.
The Uptown man is describing an armed robbery that happened right across the street from his home last year. Still, he says he isn't worried about his own safety.
"You just have to know what's going on, but I just don't see it around here. I just don't have any fear," he says.
He's right about the area around him. A map showing armed robberies that occurred in the Second District over an 18-month period, also shows little activity in the man's neighborhood on Camp Street.
Still, throughout the district that includes Uptown, Audubon and neighborhoods around Loyola and Tulane Universities, there were 99 armed robberies over the past year-and-a-half.
In this Crimetracker Iinvestigation, we break down the numbers to show exactly what's going on in the district.
"We've seen a small number of individuals who are very opportunistic," says Second District Commander Paul Noel. "They're finding people who are very vulnerable, like people getting in and out of their cars, people who are intoxicated, people who are walking or talking on the phone or texting on their phone and not paying attention to their surroundings."
Noel points out that most armed robbers will continue committing crimes until they're caught.
In the district, the numbers have been rising since Jan. 1 of 2014 until now. In the first six months of last year, there were 25 armed robberies. In the second half of the year, there were 32 and for the first six months of this year, there were 42.
"While one armed robbery is too many, of course, but compared to where we were in 2002 when there were almost 300 armed robberies in this district, or a year compared to where we were in 2007 when there were 166 armed robberies in this district, we were drastically low compared to that," Noel says.
The Commander says in 2013, armed robberies were reduced to a historic low of 58 incidents for the entire year. Since then, the numbers have crept back up. Still, Noel is confident that the right measures are in place to keep the numbers from skyrocketing over the 100 mark.
"We strategically send our officers into areas where armed robberies occur, and there have been several armed robberies that officers actually jumped in progress and made arrests. The second thing we do is the aggressive follow-up of our detectives," Noel says.
Besides the follow-up investigation, Noel says it's important to educate the public about being aware of their surroundings. Noel also says his district had a solve rate of 51 percent - nearly twice the national average.