NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - While police continue to implement crime reduction strategies, criminologists note the number of violent crimes - outside of homicides - are trending up.
"Usually murder and other violent crimes, shootings, aggravated assaults, robberies, that sort of thing, usually track together, so what we're seeing is murders are down and other crimes of violence are trending back up," said Dr. George Capowich, a criminologist at Loyola University.
The spike in armed robberies continued Friday afternoon in the Irish Channel when police say a 65-year-old woman was robbed at gunpoint near her Constance Street home.
"She said hello to him, she greeted him, and the next minute he had his arm around her neck and the barrel to her toward her cheek, her throat. She was a mess," said the victim's neighbor, who did not want to be identified.
The neighbor heard the day-time struggle from her porch and stepped in to help.
"I was sitting on my porch and I heard my neighbor screaming, I saw her on the ground," she said. "I originally thought a cyclist had gone fast and knocked her over, so I approached, and as I did, I saw it was a man standing there with a gun aimed at me."
Instead of running, the woman stood her ground and refused to let the would-be robber get away with his violent crime.
"I kind of basically stayed there telling him I was dialing the police and he heard me telling the police, describing him, but he was very brazen," she said.
The man eventually tried to take off with the victim's car, but couldn't get it to start. Police said he took off running, empty-handed. Police said multiple cameras captured images of the man.
In his State of the City address, Mayor Mitch Landrieu touted some of the city's growing crime fighting strategies meant to stop violent crimes like armed robberies.
"We are growing the department so there are more high-performing police officers on the streets and in our neighborhoods," Landrieu said. "We have two recruit classes in session right now. One will graduate in July, and another recruit class will immediately follow."
But Capowich said that while more patrols won't hurt, it likely isn't the ultimate answer to solving crime problems.
"The number of police on the street is not nearly as important as what the police do when they're on the street. Typical strategies of patrol and arrest - while that's part of the picture - by themselves, tend not to be very effective," he said.
Instead, he said police should focus on problem-solving techniques, including efforts to decriminalize marijuana. Until then, though, victims of violent crime are happy to have more men and women in blue on their block.
"They were coming from every angle - they were really good," the victim's neighbor said. "I think it's good that they're gonna be close a little earlier, because we need more policemen on the street, without a doubt."
If you recognize the man in the video and images, contact Crimestoppers at 822-1111.