NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - As tourists strolled through the Pere Antoine Alley next to the St. Louis Cathedral around 5 p.m. Tuesday, they became armed robbery victims.
"They were approached by an unknown male who pointed a knife at them and demanded their property. The man gave him some cash and the woman gave him a tablet that she had," said Eighth District Commander Nicholas Gernon.
The robber took off running. Police obtained surveillance video from a nearby business.
"They began to search for that individual. At about 5:50, they saw him standing outside 611 North Rampart," Gernon said.
The suspect, 18-year-old Darnell Johnson, was arrested. Police said they found a knife and the stolen tablet inside the suspect's backpack.
"It really is a good example of how if you get good surveillance of somebody, it can lead to a timely arrest," Gernon said.
It's the reason why the NOPD's using what they've called an enhanced security package for 2018 that includes a real-time camera system. Parts of the French Quarter are already being monitored.
"Most of Bourbon Street is covered, and we continued to build up capacity down here to some of the side streets and some other areas," Gernon said.
Gernon said the cameras are already netting results. When someone opened fire on Royal St. over the weekend and shot two people, including an innocent bystander, the NOPD immediately began using the camera system.
"The real-time camera system actually helped us to put together some pieces of the puzzle that were unclear based on the victims accounts. The persons of interest we put out are from a real time camera," Gernon said.
He said the NOPD is close to solving that case.
Additional lighting in the French Quarter is expected to help reduce crime in the Eighth District.
Gernon said violent crime in his district was down 15 percent in 2017 compared to the year before. He believes the added technology will only help to prevent and solve more crimes in the future.