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French Quarter Management District says crime is down

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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

The French Quarter Management District says crime is down thanks to security patrols, state troopers and an app. But as the state deals with a budget crisis, at least one lawmaker is questioning whether troopers should be patrolling the French Quarter. 

Since 2015, state troopers have been helping to patrol the French Quarter. In that time, French Quarter Management District Co-Chairman Bob Simms says crime has decreased. 

"The French Quarter Task Force has actually just made it's three-year anniversary, and even after a few months of operation crime was down 45 percent," said Simms. "We're down in terms of serious crime and violent crime. We're down in simple robberies. Every category is basically down."

But during a House Appropriations Committee meeting last week, State Representative Cameron Henry, R-Metairie, questioned Louisiana State Police about whether assigning troopers to patrol the French Quarter was the best use of state resources. 

Henry: You have New Orleans police officers patrolling the interstate, correct?"

LSP Superintendent: "Yes sir."

Henry: "And we have Louisiana State Police patrolling the French Quarter, correct?"

LSP Superintendent: "Yes sir."

Henry: "So, this might seem like a novel idea. Is there some reason we don't just switch?" 

LSP Superintendent Colonel Kevin Reeves had this response: 

"I think that our 32 personnel that are assigned to Troop N are much more effective working within the inter-corporate limits around the French Quarter and the Central Business District with their patrols, and we free up New Orleans police officers who aren't assigned to the Eighth District to do jobs in other places," said Reeves.  

According to our news partners, Nola.com/The Times Picayune, the state is helping fund those 32 troopers even though those who live in the Quarter voted in a tax three years ago to have permanent State Police patrols. 

Sims says to keep crime down, state troopers need to continue those patrols. 

"Until the NOPD can rebuild its ranks and get back to the level of staffing they need, we're going to have to have things like the task force and the state police patrolling the streets of the Quarter," said Sims.  
  
According to NOLA.com, the French Quarter State Police troop cost $6.1 million during the last budget cycle and New Orleans must pay $4.5 million of that through the French Quarter tax. The LSP superintendent told NOLA.com through less overtime expenses he's been able to bring that cost down by a million dollars, and he hopes the tax will cover almost all of that this budget cycle. 

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