CrimeTracker Investigation: New Orleans burglaries in 2015

Burglaries by type
Burglaries by type
Burglaries by month
Burglaries by month
Burglaries by time of day
Burglaries by time of day
Burglaries by NOPD district
Burglaries by NOPD district

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - "It happened in broad daylight. It was a sunny day and perfect angle for cameras," a victim says.

Cameras mounted on a Bywater home did capture it all as a man hopped over the victim's fence, tried to use the doggie door and then used a shovel to break the back window. Once inside, he seemed to make the place his own.

"He took basically every drawer that was in the house and threw everything that was in the drawers and cabinets on the ground," the victim tells us. "He went to the kitchen, ate chips and some other food. He drank a soda, which he threw on the ground and was in there for about 15 minutes."

The thief decided to go upstairs. The victim says he stole watches, money and even dumped a big screen TV over the fence before he left.

"I know that this is a potential and I know that there's been a rash of these things in my neighborhood. But when it happens, you feel unsettled," the victim says.

This resident isn't alone. In her Bywater neighborhood, around the 1000 block of Clouet St., there have been four burglaries since January 2015.

In this special CrimeTracker Investigation, FOX 8 obtained and analyzed burglary data from all of last year. In 2015, police reported 5,413 burglaries across New Orleans. That's nearly 15 a day, not counting attempted burglaries.

"You don't know. You see neighbors and you speak to them and you come out the next day and see the cops. You say, what happened and somebody broke into a house," says Hays Thompson, a resident of Alabama Street in New Orleans East.

On Thompson's block, police investigated five home burglaries last year alone.

"My neighbor had some expensive blowers… And that green house across the street over there, they broke into that house twice in the same week," says Thompson.

He believes his neighborhood is attractive to thieves because of the easy access in and out of the area. "The access is, they could hop a gate and go to Downman," he says. "They could hop a gate and go to West Laverne. Either way and they're in and out."

Police investigated more burglaries in New Orleans East than any other district in the city - at least 804 incidents in NOPD's 7th District. That's nearly twice as many burglaries as police investigated in the 3rd District, covering Lakeview, Gentilly and West End - 424 burglaries happened there.

"We had just moved here, and we came in that morning and the cable didn't work," says Linder Andrews, who owns a business on Chef Menteur Highway. "The telephone lines were down, so we're trying to see what's going on and we out the back to find the door was wide open."

There were 59 burglaries along Chef Menteur in 2015. Most of the victims were business owners.

"Business owners are just trying to make a living, and when they come and take your stuff it puts you out of business. It messes with your livelihood," Andrews says. "And it's sad that's in a neighborhood so strong."

Andrews says she constantly takes precautions. "It scares you when you leave at night," she says. "I'm always looking, and I always have someone here with me because you're afraid to come in by yourself. As soon as it gets dark, you've got to close up."

Car burglaries happen more often than any other type of burglary: at least 2,453 in 2015.  In the 3rd District, 361 car burglaries were reported last year.

In the 2nd District, which covers Uptown, a home invasion victim says a burglar just walked in and forced the victim's dad to take him through the house.

"He ended up forcing my dad to a back bedroom and tied him up with computer cords that he was just grabbing, as he backed his way back there," says the victim.

Aggravated burglaries such as this happened 102 times across the city last year.

"What statistics show is quite different from what you see every day," says Hays Thompson.

Statistics in the 8th District, covering the French Quarter and CBD, show the least amount of burglaries happened there, just 99 incidents reported. There were 31 business burglaries, compared to 541 business burglaries in New Orleans East.

Across New Orleans, most burglaries appeared to happen in January, peaking at 556. The lowest point came next month, February, with 326 incidents.

The data also show when thieves tended to strike last year. Incidents pick up around 7:00 AM, when many residents begin to leave for work or school, and peak between the hours of 8:00 and 10:00 AM.

When you compare last year's numbers with the numbers from 2014, burglary incidents are going down: 5,413 incidents in 2015, compared to 6,111 incidents in 2014.

Still, victims say more needs to be done to cut those numbers further.

"We have to care. The community has to care and families have to help the police. This is too big for the police. They can't be everywhere at the same time. They need help," says Linder Andrews.

Many believe the community has to get involved.

"When you see things going on, we have to let the police know what's going on," Andrews says.

"It takes people standing up and saying I'm tired. They have to say it's enough," Thompson tells us.

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