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‘It is terrifying’: Residents react to crime in New Orleans

Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 10:19 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Carjackings are on the rise this year. According to city data, there were 62 incidents in 2020 compared to 134 incidents so far this year-- making carjackings up 116 percent for 2021.

The uptick has residents across New Orleans, especially women, on edge.

“I feel very unsafe,” said Tanya Norris. “As a single mom of an 11-year-old... 12-year-old daughter, I’m like always scared to even go outside, unfortunately.”

“I don’t feel safe at all,” said Taija Rudolph. “I live in New Orleans East and it’s bad. I have to ask people to come get gas with me and follow me while I’m getting gas and it’s really bad.”

“It is terrifying,” said Sylvia Senter. “I cannot believe what has happened to New Orleans.”

One local business is coming together to help women stay vigilant when crime is so high.

“It’s a tough time for the city,” said Justin Brown, criminal justice consultant for Empower You NOLA. Brown is also a former New Orleans police officer having served on the force for six years in various capacities such as patrol, narcotics, task force and SWAT. “I don’t remember crime being this bad.”

Brown said his experience with the NOPD has prepared him for this next role. Due to the recent crimes, he’s hosting an event that he hopes will empower women and teach them ways to handle threatening situations-- like carjackings or being approached by strangers.

The event titled “This Saved My Life” is taking place on Sunday, June 13 at 3 p.m. at the Algiers Auditorium. Brown says guests will learn ways to stay safe, like conceal carry information, domestic abuse information, and playing out threatening situations at the gas station or outside the home.

“We’re gonna deal with how to get groceries inside and from your house back to your car, and make that transaction,” he said. “We’re gonna talk about the gas station, we’re gonna talk about if a guy walks up to you what do you do? So we’re gonna have these conversations and we’re gonna talk about this. We’re gonna interactively show you how to act and how to move and man, I’m just super excited.”

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Excited to get the conversation started and creating stronger, smarter and more empowered communities across the city.

“Every day I just hope my family and friends are safe. Every day I wake up and just pray we all be ok and don’t ever get carjacked,” said Rudolph. “I just hope we get rid of the crime and find better solutions.”

“I look over my shoulder left and right, and unfortunately I mean, I don’t want to have to carry, but I’m assuming sooner or later I might have to protect myself and my daughter,” said Norris.

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