NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The Lakeview Crime Prevention District is reducing the number of paid patrols because of a budget issue.
Earlier this year, the LCPD decided to boost the number of patrols because it had a surplus of funds, but it recently learned the price it pays extra-duty officers is more than expected because of a rate change.
"We could not continue on and spend that money knowing the bills or rates were going to be so expensive, so we decided to pull back through the end of the year. Now when we pull back, we will actually be at or still more officers on the street than we had in 2015," said Freddy Yoder, with the LCPD.
Some residents don't think fewer patrols will make much of difference, but they still want to see a change in the program.
"They're reactive as opposed to proactive, so the odds of them catching someone in the act is still the same amount as if we had more patrols," said Gino Ascani, a Lakeview resident who runs the Lakeview Crime Watch group.
Ascani thinks the LCPD should turn to crime cameras to provide a more efficient and cost-effective solution to neighborhood policing.
"One person sitting at a desk watching all of these cameras around Lakeview, you can see all around Lakeview as opposed to taking multiple units to drive up and down the streets of Lakeview and they can only see one street at a time," said Bryan Lagarde, with ProjectNOLA.
Lagarde is offering a crime camera program to the neighborhood that would feature 128 HD cameras placed around Lakeview that could be monitored live from a remote location, all for $23,000 a year, but he said the LCPD isn't biting at his offer.
The crime prevention district is still considering a camera project and even requested proposals for the project, but because of the current budget issue, it likely won't happen this year.
Ascani doesn't want to wait, though, and thinks the cameras will do more to help prevent crime than increased patrols could.
"Being able to see criminals walking up and down the streets that the patrols may not be able to see because they hide and because it's at night, it's essential to be able to stop the crime in progress as opposed to after someone leaves their car open and gets rummaged through and then making a report to come out the next day to get fingerprints," Ascani said.
Ascani hopes to encourage fellow Lakeview resident to take part in a volunteer crime camera monitoring program. He said he'd like to raise between $15,000 and $20,000 to host 100 residential cameras through Project NOLA that could be monitored live by volunteers.