Victims wait hours for police to show in two separate Irish Channel home burglaries, blame lack of resources due to festival

“The police are doing just as much as they can possibly do, they’re so worn thin,” said the victim of one of the burglaries. “There’s really no safe place or time in this city.”
Published: Apr. 26, 2022 at 6:18 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Two separate home burglaries in the Irish Channel over the weekend left residents cleaning up their ransacked homes, and questioning why it took New Orleans Police up to 15 hours to respond to the scenes of the crimes.

FOX 8 spoke with the victims of one of the burglaries, who declined to go on camera. This 17-year resident of New Orleans said he left town with his fiancée on Saturday to spend the night in Mississippi.

When the two returned home on Sunday afternoon, they discovered their home had been “wrecked.” The man said the burglar stole his fiancée’s jewelry, silver from her now-passed grandmother, and even her car.

They called the police around 5 p.m. on Sunday. They continued calling every hour until they gave up and went to stay at their friend’s home.

“We probably called, I don’t know, about a half dozen times that night, and still no response,” he said.

NOPD said in a statement that an officer arrived at the home just after midnight, but by then the couple had left for the night.

“With no answer at the residence and a callback attempt reaching voicemail, the responding officer marked up the item as “Gone on Arrival,” which means the complainant/victim is not on scene to report the crime when the responding officers arrive,” an NOPD spokesperson said in an email.

The man said he and his fiancée had waited as long as possible. He maintains they did not receive a call. The next day, the man said he went to the police station in person to get the report filed and get an officer out to his home.

An officer finally came out before 1 p.m. on Monday, around 19 hours after the crime occurred.

The man said he feels officers were busy providing coverage at French Quarter Fest, leaving his neighborhood vulnerable.

“Knowing all these resources that are going to be pulled for that and not available here, it’s just very concerning,” he said. “I’d urge everybody to take as many precautions as you possibly can.”

The man said he’s been the victim of multiple crimes in the 17 years he’s lived in New Orleans. He said he’s become numb to the crimes, but his heart is breaking for his fiancée.

The silver that was stolen belonged to her grandmother.

“She’s completely devastated and is really very saddened by this experience, cause this is not the New Orleans that she knew growing up,” he said.

When asked why he stays in New Orleans, the man struggled to find the answer.

“It’s a question I’ve been wrestling with for a long time, and I wish I had a good answer as to why I stay,” he said. “I can tell you that any of the reasons I come up with against any of these things I’ve been through, and I will tell you it’s not worth it.”

“Is it worth my life? Is it worth my fiancée’s life?” he asked. “And now I have to make the decision of whether or not to raise kids here. I don’t want to see them go through any of the things that I went through.”

Another home burglary occurred over the weekend on the 900 block of 7th Street, also in the Irish Channel. The residents in that incident said they waited 15 hours for police to respond, according to the office of Councilwoman Lesli Harris.

“I promptly reached out to Captain Bax, who sent a 6th District police unit and ranking officer to the home for a police report,” Harris said in a statement. “Needless to say, crime victims should not have to contact a Council office to reach the police, and many do not have the luxury of time.”

Harris went on to call the current police response times “unacceptable,” vowing to push officer retention and recruitment efforts forward.

“It’s vital not only that we increase our officer ranks to 1,500, but also that we keep those recruits through appropriate benefits and incentives,” the statement went on to read. “In the meantime, the Council has asked the Governor for additional state police presence and is fully focused on stemming the current spike in crime.”

Meanwhile, the residents who spoke with FOX 8 in the Irish Channel said they feel like they’re on their own.

“All of the resources are focused on festivals and other events. So I think that is partly to blame for some of the crime this weekend because we didn’t have police around,” said one woman who asked not to be named. “It’s pretty disturbing, after all these years and all this love that so many of us have for the City of New Orleans, to have the crime just continue to be out of control.”

“Really the question is who’s going to come in and do something about it? Who’s going to come in and take the initiative to fix the problem?” she asked. “I’m really hoping and praying that someone takes notice and says, ‘We need more state troopers in. Or we need to spread out groups of troopers and police so other parts of the city can have some coverage.’”

This is not the first story from over the weekend of slowed response times from police. Witnesses said they waited 30 minutes for NOPD to show up while two women assaulted staff and patrons of a Lower Garden District Bar Saturday night.

FOX 8 reached out to NOPD for a response to this story. A spokesperson responded with the following:

“At about 5:18 p.m. on April 24, 2022, the NOPD was initially notified of a residential burglary call in the 3400 block of Constance Street. At that time, the caller did not mention that the incident has just occurred, if there were any injuries or danger, and did not know the identity of the perpetrator or if the perpetrator was still on scene. Because of these circumstances, the call was identified as a “Code 1″ (non-urgent) call and placed as such in the Sixth District’s call log.

At about 12:05 a.m. on April 25, a Sixth District officer was dispatched to the location to investigate. With no answer at the residence and a callback attempt reaching voicemail, the responding officer marked up the item as “Gone on Arrival,” which means the complainant/victim is not on scene to report the crime when the responding officers arrive. The victim called additional times to report the incident. As the previous item had been marked up as “Gone on Arrival”, another NOPD item was generated by dispatch for the newer call. Based on the aforementioned conditions of the call, it was placed back in the call log as a “Code 1″ call.

At about 12:18 p.m. on April 25, a Sixth District officer was again dispatched to the location to investigate the call. After meeting with the victims and obtaining additional information, the incident was marked up as “Report to Follow” at about 12:49 p.m.

Investigation into this incident is active and ongoing. Anyone with information that can assist in this investigation is asked to call NOPD Sixth District detectives at 504-658-6060 or to call anonymously to Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111.”

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