Irish Channel residents concerned for safety amidst rise in car break-ins

Irish Channel residents concerned for safety amidst rise in car break-ins

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Some residents in the Irish Channel say they’re afraid to walk the streets at night due to an uptick in juvenile crime. Fox 8 spoke to NOPD’s Sixth District Commander who says they’re battling the issue just like the rest of the city, but there is an upside to recent crime numbers.

NOPD confirmed four car break-ins in the Irish Channel early Thursday morning, one of which happened around on the 2700 block of Constance Street. Officers say there was one break-in on the 2800 block of Constance St. and another one a block down on the 2800 block of Laurel Street. Plus, they say there was also a break-in on the 3200 block of Constance St.

A resident's surveillance video from the 2800 block of Laurel, shows a car drive up and two people get out. It happens quickly but the individual at the bottom of the screen breaks out the window before getting back into the SUV and riding off.

"It's a concern because it hasn't stopped," said Irish Channel Resident Juan Tanchez.

"It happens all the time," agreed resident Calvin Miller.

It's easy to find residents in the Irish Channel who have either been burglarized or who knows someone who has. Calvin Miller has lived there just over a year with two friends. He's the only one who hasn't been a victim.

"I've just been lucky. I don't know how," said Miller. "Coming from Atlanta, which definitely has its bad areas, but New Orleans is just like, you can't escape it. It's everywhere."

Miller is not taking any chances.

"I'm thinking about putting higher fences around the gates, putting a lock on them. Getting Ring cameras. You know, cameras," Miller explained.

NOPD Sixth District Commander Ronnie Stevens says he hears residents' concerns and understands.

"We're 245 automobile burglaries year to date and that was against 157 last year so, you're seeing a significant increase with us," said Commander Stevens. "We're committed to it, to correcting it and getting it under control."

Stevens says the uptick in juvenile-related car break-ins escalated at the end of last year and has fluctuated in the Uptown area since. He says his district is now working more closely with others, like the second, to ensure they're sharing any and all information to solve these burglaries.

On the upside, Stevens says violent crime is down.

"On the violent crime side, we're doing pretty well," said Stevens. "But just one is too many."

Even so, residents in the Irish Channel are concerned for their safety. Afraid to walk the street at night.

"Some of these kids have weapons," cautioned Tanchez.

“I have to watch my girlfriend every time she walks out to the car. It’s like, I can’t walk to the bars at night. I live a mile away from two great bars and after dark, I can’t walk, I have to take Uber everywhere. It’s ridiculous,” Miller said.

Fox 8 spoke to the NOPD Seventh District Commander, Wednesday night, who says his district is implementing initiatives like community policing and, come summer, a curfew car to try to curb juvenile crime.

NOPD is also urging residents across the city to remove valuables, especially guns, from their cars when they leave them.

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