NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The NOPD says they didn't see gun violence over the weekend like they have in years past, and one local criminologist believes the department's new strategies are working to reduce crime in the city.
Law enforcement made 24 illegal gun arrests over the weekend, including one man who was carrying an AR-15 in the French Quarter.
"Undercover officers were on patrol when they came across an individual smoking marijuana. They stopped him, they arrested him and then they found he also had a rifle hidden in his pants pocket," said NOPD Eighth District Commander Nicholas Gernon.
Hundreds of officers were patrolling downtown for the holiday weekend and the Bayou Classic. Bollards were also in place to keep cars from entering Bourbon Street, and cameras were rolling on all the action. That live video was fed into the city's new real-time crime monitoring center.
"They were actively monitoring a lot of the cameras in and around Bourbon Street in the downtown area, and they were alerting officers to suspicious activity, and they were also doing proactive in looking for individuals that may have been involved in criminal activity in the area and then letting officers know when they saw something so we could intercede before it became a problem," said Gernon.
The NOPD believes their strategy worked to keep locals and tourists safe. LSU Health criminologist Peter Scharf agrees.
"We call it intelligence-led policing. So you don't just patrol randomly, you go after your highest probability risk, and they're beginning to follow what the big cities that have been successful in reducing murder have done all over the country," said Scharf.
The NOPD made 19 of the gun arrests while State Police made five. We're told those arrests were up from last year.
"Every time you take an illegal gun off the street or an illegal gun away from someone who is carrying it criminally, you take away the potential for that person to hurt somebody, to rob somebody or to use it against another individual," said Gernon.