Ferguson says early returns from NOPD’s new officer deployment plan have been encouraging

But collision between stolen vehicles in Desire area leaves 16-year-old boy dead
Published: Oct. 11, 2022 at 7:39 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Two stolen vehicles collided in the Desire neighborhood late Monday night (Oct. 10), crashing into two homes.

“It sounded like a bomb,” said a neighbor, who did not want to be identified.

A 16-year-old boy, believed to be behind the wheel of a stolen F-150, was ejected in the collision and died from his injuries at the hospital. The driver of the other stolen vehicle took off on foot, New Orleans police said.

“This involved two stolen vehicles,” NOPD Supt. Shaun Ferguson said Tuesday. “Their connection to one another is still unknown.”

Ferguson said vehicle thefts and auto burglaries remain a problem across the city. He pointed to Sunday, when someone smashed windows out of at least 20 vehicles parked in the Central Business District.

“We believe the same crew is responsible for these incidents, and we are actively gathering information,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson said the NOPD had additional officers patrolling that area, looking for criminal activity on a Sunday when the Saints were playing at the Caesars Superdome. He said officers spotted the culprits driving a white Chevy Silverado pickup.

“The vehicle began to drive recklessly, in an attempt to evade the officers,” Ferguson said. “Officers, being concerned for public safety, elected to disengage and not pursue the vehicle at that time.”

People who live and work in the CBD, however, are frustrated with the city’s crime.

“I don’t feel safe anymore, and I’m scared,” said Brian Mullin. “As a business owner, when are we going to stand up and say enough is enough?”

Ferguson said violent crime has dipped over the past two weeks.

“It was two weeks ago (that) we began a redeployment strategy, in which we put more officers out on the street,” Ferguson said. “We are moving, we believe, in the right direction.”

The NOPD said there were five murders in the city over the past two weeks, compared to 12 in the same time period last year.

“This is not to toot our horn, because it’s too early to do any of that,” Ferguson said.

The redeployment plan involved reassigning dozens of detectives, specialized unit personnel and administrative officers back to district street patrol duty shifts. Having more officers on patrol is helping reduce wait times on citizens’ calls for service.

“We have K-9s, as well as traffic officers, that are on patrol,” Ferguson said. “Then you have investigators, from Homicide to SVU, to administrative positions in headquarters, that are now out on patrol and responding to calls.”

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