NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - More than 100 car burglaries happened in New Orleans East so far this year.
"Our biggest hurdle out here in New Orleans East are property crimes," said NOPD Seventh District Commander Lawrence Dupree.
Dupree said car burglaries are up 46 percent compared to the same time period last year.
Over the course of two weeks, Dupree said a group of car burglars operated across New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish.
"Our detectives out here worked hand-in-hand with St. Bernard. They assisted with search warrants in New Orleans East," Dupree said.
"Deputies responded to a suspicious vehicle call in the area. They arrived within minutes. They discovered an individual inside a vehicle committing a burglary. Deputies chased the suspect, and he was later caught," Sheriff Jimmy Pohlman said.
In all, St. Bernard deputies arrested six people in connection with the Chalmette car burglaries, and the NOPD captured three others, including a 16 year old. They believe the group committed 21 car burglaries in Chalmette and more than 40 in New Orleans East.
"They did operate as a group, and in many of these cases we actually do have video," Dupree said.
In the majority of the cases, the NOPD said the vehicles were unlocked.
"They have to secure their vehicles and safely remove items from their vehicles that could later cause harm," Dupree said.
"It's something that's simple to fix. Lock you car," Pohlman said.
Sheriff Pohlman said in St. Bernard Parish, the car burglars stole three guns from unlocked vehicles.
"If you leave your gun in an unlocked car, all you're doing is allowing these criminals to continue their dangerous pattern of robberies and murders," he said.
"I would urge the public to follow one simple tip: Always secure your vehicle," Dupree said.