NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - After a week of violent crimes capping off the school year and leading into the summer months, NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison isn't concerned that the rash of violence will settle in with the summer heat.
"This is not something that anyone should expect, this was a spike. This was not what we would call a trend, this was a spike and this was probably a number of groups of young men who are out there committing armed robberies," Harrison said.
Our partners at NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune reported at least 42 armed robberies, carjackings or attempts during a seven-day period last week. It's a series of incidents that has caught the attention of a department already boosting efforts to catch the culprits - crimes investigators think may be related.
"Some of them are connected, and there are small groups of persons. S some of them are juveniles who are going around and committing multiple robberies. So if we have, for instance, 40 robberies, there are not 40 perpetrators. It's a small group that committed multiple robberies," Harrison said.
Now Mayor Mitch Landrieu is asking the community to step up to the plate.
"Often times when kids just get out of school, we think it's the same kids and we're getting out there and chasing them. We're being very aggressive about it, but the public needs to help us. People know who these young guys are. We've gotta go get them and we've been very aggressive about this," Landrieu said.
Mayor Landrieu thinks there's a way to stop those groups in their tracks and it may come with a splash. Earlier Monday morning, Landrieu spent time swimming with young children to promote the summer activities offered by NORDC, activities he thinks could curb a life of violence for some kids.
"We're building the infrastructure so that kids have the opportunity to recreate and to have the things that they need. Now what we need is people to coach, we need the community to be involved, everyone has got to be involved in this violence reduction strategy as we decidedly try to change this culture of violence to a culture of peace," Landrieu said.
Chief Harrison warns, if teens decide to give up their youth for a life a crime, there will be a hefty price to pay.
"This is grown men behavior, these guys are out there, I don't care how young or how old they are, they're acting foolish and they're committing adult, grown men behavior and we're going to treat them like grown men. We're gonna take them and if crime and robbery is the life they want to choose then prison will be the price they're gonna pay," Harrison said.
NOPD says on the year overall, the city has seen four fewer robberies this year compared to the same time period in 2015.