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Crimetracker: Car thefts are up across New Orleans

Published: May. 26, 2021 at 5:21 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -“You don’t think about it, but you have people riding around looking for opportunities,” says the victim.

A victim, who FOX 8 will not identify, says he was trying to be a good Samaritan Monday night when someone stole his car.

Police say it happened at St. Patrick and Baudin Streets.

“There was a young lady that couldn’t start her car. I’m like ok, I have a battery jumper in my car. I go get my car, and I pull around the corner,” says the victim.

The good Samaritan pulls up next to the woman and helps to give her a jump.

“My car was backed up and I had my lights shining into the street. There was a truck blocking me in, and I see someone get into my car. I apologized and said, I’ll move it. I look and I see the truck peel off and they steal my car,” says the victim.

The victim says he chased his vehicle a short ways, and quickly realized there was nothing he could do, so he called 911.

“You’re thinking you’re doing something to help someone else, not realizing how vulnerable you are,” says the victim.

That same day, police investigated a car theft in the 5700 block of Willow Street. The victim told FOX 8, her Lexus was burglarized last week, and then on Monday, someone stole it.

The victim tells FOX 8, she was about to leave to go out of town, so all of her belongings were packed in the vehicle when it was taken.

“People are outraged when their car is stolen and stuff is burglarized,” says Peter Scharf, Ph.D.

Car thefts are up, 32 percent, according to the city’s ‘calls for service’ data.

“How do you we get proactive and get ahead of the patterns going into the high car theft, high auto burglary, and high carjacking months,” says Scharf, Ph.D.

LSU Health Criminologist Dr. Peter Scharf says juveniles are often committing car crimes and everyone in the criminal justice system needs to be thinking now of ways to decrease the numbers.

“Also you look at staffing levels in the city. How exactly are they going to do this? You don’t know where in a district an auto theft or burglary is going to occur,” says Scharf, Ph.D.

He says patrol strategies are difficult to predict. He believes investigatory strategies will likely have to change.

Victims are frustrated and hope something is done soon.

“I’ll just be more careful and continue to have my faith in the fact that the system meant to protect us is going to step up and do what needs to be done,” says the victim.

City leaders, including the police chief, say they’re working to soon have a comprehensive plan in place to stop the crime.

District Attorney Jason Williams sent the following statement:

“My office is laser focused on violent crime in this city.

As I flagged at this past Monday’s press conference,  we need all hands on deck, both response and prevention, to properly address crime in the city.  Given this self-induced coma of COVID-19 that we are all coming out of and the fact that crime rates typically increase in the summer months, I have asked everyone in my office to go the extra mile to work with the entire criminal legal system to better prevent, intervene and ensure appropriate accountability. We are proud & excited about new partnerships we have initiated with the police department, judges and community-based service providers.

On top of the work my team is doing every day, we are also hosting the DA’s Youth Violence Prevention and Accountability Summit to bring everyone together in an effort to develop city wide strategies to keep kids on the right track and prevent crime.”

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