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Surveillance cameras capture another Lakeview car theft

Enhanced video stills. (Source: Lakeview Citizen Watch) Enhanced video stills. (Source: Lakeview Citizen Watch)

Some Lakeview residents hope new surveillance video will help solve who is behind the recent carjackings and car thefts in the area. As the group comes together to fund additional crime fighting initiatives, one recent crime victim is speaking out.

“A male jumped out of the passenger side of the car with a gun, put it to my head and demanded my cell phone,” a Lakeview resident explained.

The woman, who we're not identifying, says she's still getting over the trauma of being held up in broad daylight in front of her home.

“Nobody is prepared for that, ever, ever,” she said.

The resident says she feels for the neighbors recently victimized by a group of men. Two were caught on surveillance camera Aug. 3 stealing a car from an alleyway in the 6100 block of Milne Boulevard. Just a few days before that, a group robbed a father and son at gunpoint on General Haig. Surveillance video shows the men checking car doors. Moments after they step out of frame, the father and son were carjacked.

“We need something done,” resident Gino Ascani said.

Ascani formed the group Lakeview Citizen Watch, and he and others are brainstorming ways to stop the crime. One idea centers on money residents already pay toward private patrols.

“On a normal year, the Lakeview Crime Prevention pays the NOPD about half a million dollars," Ascani said. "This year they'll collect close to a million dollars. There will be a surplus of $300,000 or $400,000.”

Ascani wants to use some of the surplus money to hire extra security officers to patrol.

The NOPD insists crime is down overall in Lakeview. Chief Michael Harrison didn't have any specifics when asked about the car thefts Wednesday, but said he supports the group's efforts.

“We're all in favor of citizen-initiated crime prevention strategies that work side-by-side and parallel to police crime prevention strategies,” Harrison said.

The citizen group will solicit even more ideas from its members to crack down on crime Thursday night at a community meeting. The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. at Lakeview Harbor.

So far, there is no word on whether the men behind the car theft on Milne are the ones responsible for the carjacking on General Haig.

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