So far so good...
Hyped-up patrols are working: Since Lt. Eddie Selby sent his force of plainclothes cops into the Lower French Quarter and Marigny Triangle on the first of the month, that part of the 8th District has been nearly as quiet as it's ever been. After the patrols began in reaction to a wave of armed robberies at the end of July, no armed robberies have occurred and even car thefts and break-ins have been virtually non-existent in those neighborhoods. That's in marked contrast to 22 armed robberies in the 8th District from 6.29.07 to 7.31.07, with 15 of the total in the Lower Quarter and Triangle.
- Magazine and Gravier streets, Monday 8.6.07, 4 a.m.: A 25-year-old black female from Illinois was walking on Gravier when a black car pulled up and a black female armed with a handgun got out and demanded the victim's purse. The victim complied and the robber sped off with the purse containing $300. The robber was described as 25-27, 5'5" tall, weighing 130 pounds; there was no description of the vehicle.
- Iberville and Burgundy streets, Monday 8.6.07, 5 a.m.: A white man, 22, and a black man, 39, both from Baton Rouge, were walking in the 200 block of Burgundy toward Canal Street when they realized they were being followed by 3 black men. As they got to Iberville, 2 more black men approached them from the other direction. The 5 thugs attacked the 2 men and took their wallets. Ritz-Carlton employees observed the melee and ran to the aid of the victims and stopped the attack. The attackers, described as 20-25 of age, with one having dreadlocks, made off with the wallets and just over $300 in cash. The incident was caught on the hotel's video cameras, but was of poor quality. (You'd think the Ritz-Carlton, of all hotels, could afford better surveillance.)
Kidnapping? You decide: Only a tourist would be foolish enough to follow two strangers into the Iberville Housing Project. But according to the Times-Picayune, a 38-year-old man from Maryland wandered off Bourbon Street about 8 a.m. Saturday 8.4.07 when 2 men approached him and asked him to follow them. Typically, the T-P didn't identify the victim or the perps by race, but it's hard to believe 3 white men would stupidly venture into the 1400 block of Bienville Street where there have been 3 or more shootings/killings in the past week. Once there, the tourist was held against his will, cut no less than 7 times and shot in the butt 3 times. He was too sedated in the hospital for cops to get more details. But the NOPD's 1st District, which wrote the report, is calling it a "simple kidnapping" to pin the crime in the 8th District. Can't blame the 1st for not wanting to take the heat for still another shooting in its jurisdiction, but why pin a dubious charge on the 8th?
Don't forget : As part of the annual Night Out Against Crime TONIGHT, 2 crimewatch groups in the French Quarter are staging parties:
- Lower Quarter Crime Watch: 6-9 p.m. at Cabrini Park at Dauphine and Barracks streets. Bring a potluck dish to share; drinks will be supplied by Margaritaville. There will be live music. Bring chairs and your neighbors.
- Upper Quarter Neighborhood Watch: 6:30-8:30 p.m. 900 block of Orleans Street, between Dauphine and Burgundy streets. It's potluck with free beer, wine and soft drinks, and live music by violin and accordion.
A good number of residents have expressed interest in installing their own systems, but are unaware of how to go about it. This meeting should provide some valuable insights.
The meeting is at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Omni Royal Orleans hotel, 621 St. Louis St.