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Safety & Crime in New Orleans: How Will Mardi Gras Be Affected?

With the heart of Mardi Gras festivities coming up this week in New Orleans, the issue of safety, crime and police presence is a hot topic. Here at Crescent City Law, we want to make sure that you are aware of what to expect while venturing to the Mardi Gras parades in Uptown, Mid-City, the CBD, or walking through the French Quarter.

Murder is Down—All Other Crime is Up!

On Friday, February 6, 2015, the Metropolitan Crime Commission issued its latest crime report for Orleans Parish. Here’s some highlights from the report:

The NOPD reported that almost all major crime categories, except murder, saw double-digit percentage increases last year over 2013. According to the report:

  • Reported rapes were up 39%
  • Armed robberies were up 37%
  • Reported assaults were up 27%
  • Auto thefts were up 22%
  • Simple robberies were up 14%
  • Thefts were up 12%
  • Burglaries were up 8%
  • Murder down 4%

Calculating all total crimes, the city’s “total index crimes” saw an increase of 15.22% from 2013 to 2014, which includes all eight categories.

Why is Crime up in New Orleans?

It’s no secret that NOPD is short-handed. This may be due in part to wages, treatment or other. But, it is a big disaster. If all crime categories were so much higher last year, except murder, it makes us wonder whether the murder numbers are accurate and real, or are they embellished. One factor to take into consideration is the number of new hospitals in downtown and New Orleans East that reduce the amount of time a shooting victim spends in an ambulance to a hospital. Also, if a person dies from their wounds five or more days later, it is not reported as a homicide. The victim may also catch diseases and infections at the hospitals, resulting in deaths, but this will not be counted as a homicide either. Is the Metropolitan Crime Commission misrepresenting the murder rate?

Help from neighboring State and Federal Law Enforcement Agencies

As a result of the shrinking police force in New Orleans, Mayor Mitch Landrieu has pleaded with neighboring parishes, State Agencies, and Federal offices for help with safety. During Mardi Gras, you will probably see a number of non-NOPD out there patrolling the streets. They may be FBI, State Police, Orleans Parish Sheriff’s or sheriffs from neighboring parishes. The mayor has also asked reserve officers to volunteer their time to protect the city. Just be aware while you are out in New Orleans, whether in the French Quarter or out at the parades, that you obey any orders from any law enforcement. If you find yourself in need of police aid, NOPD officers wear bright yellow vests so they can be easily spotted in the event of an emergency.

NOPD recently dissolved their traffic department due to the decrease in officers. Therefore, there will not be a handful of traffic patrol officers searching for traffic violations and drunk drivers. Instead, the entire force will be on the lookout for those drinking and driving. This is yet another reason why you should NOT be drinking and driving. Take alternate means of transportation, taxicabs, Streetcar, Uber, biking, walking or car-pooling with a sober driver. This is also a good time to remind you not to buy drugs, transport drugs or do any drugs in New Orleans. Illegal drugs are illegal (even in New Orleans) and you do not want to be caught by a federal agency or local police.

Please Call Crescent City Law if You Are in Trouble

If you’re planning to go to the French Quarter during Mardi Gras, please stay on Bourbon Street. Although this is not normally the advice locals give, we are giving it now. The combination of increased crime and decreased NOPD presence is a recipe for disaster. Stick to the well-lit and well-patrolled Bourbon Street. If you do find yourself arrested during Mardi Gras, please call Crescent City Law. Although it is a very high demand time for us, we will get back to you as quickly as possible and will be able to help you out. We still offer free initial consultations. You can reach us at (504) 264-9492 or e-mail here. Thank you and have a safe Mardi Gras!

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