[Editor's note: This report was compiled in 2008 based on figures from 2007. Since then, the patterns have changed somewhat, and the number of robberies have decreased dramatically. The report has not been updated because NOPD crime map figures spanning a significant period of time are still not reliable.]
When you read report after report of robberies in NOcrimeline, you start to realize some streets are more dangerous than others. And you are right. But which ones?
Surprisingly, 34 of the 184 robberies occurred in the Marigny Triangle, where the streets curve around for a few blocks from Esplanade Avenue to Elysian Fields Avenue and go up as far as St. Claude Avenue. Only 32 of the robberies were in the CBD where the streets are virtually devoid of foot traffic--and thus, victims--after dark.
Surprising too is how few of the robberies are on Canal, Iberville or Conti streets in the heart of the tourist mecca. Each had 5 robberies; Iberville was the nearest cross-street in 8 others, Canal in one other, and Conti in 2 others.
Even Bourbon Street is not as dangerous as you might suspect. Running its full length from Canal to Esplanade, Bourbon was the scene of 16 robberies and was the cross-street in 11 others in both the Upper and Lower Quarters.
Startling too was the revelation that 2 rather peaceful-seeming streets were subject to so much violence: Gov. Nicholls and St. Philip streets. There were 5 robberies on Gov. Nicholls, and it was the cross-street in 9 others; on St. Philip there were 6 robberies and it was the nearest street in 7 others. Both of those rather bucolic short neighborhood fares matched the totals on the whole length of Royal and Decatur streets.
Even North Rampart Street, the boundary between the French Quarter and Treme where many of the robbers are suspected of being holed up, doesn't make it into the top 10 of the worst places. Only 6 robberies occurred on that street, and 3 more on streets near it.
The MOST DANGEROUS streets? The 2 most dangerous streets--those you almost instinctively recall hearing over and over again--are Burgundy and Dauphine streets. They were each the scene of 21 robberies last year. Burgundy was the cross-street in 19 other robberies and Dauphine in 15 others.
The SAFEST streets? The 3 safest streets are all contiguous and straddle the boundary between the Upper Quarter and Lower Quarter--Orleans, St. Ann, and Dumaine. There were only 2 robberies on Orleans and Dumaine, and one on St. Ann which is sandwiched between the other 2. Ironically, Dumaine is right next to St. Philip, which is one of the worst streets.
Why are some streets safer? Obviously streets like Burgundy and Dauphine, which are more lightly traveled and have less foot traffic, are prone to robbers isolating lone victims. But why is Dumaine one of the safest streets while St. Philip, right next to it, is one of the most violent?
There could be any number of reasons, but determining what makes a street safe could be replicated on other streets to make them safer too.
How to protect yourself: Until we have that ideal world where we can step out our door and stroll the French Quarter any time of day or night without fear, there are some precautions you can take.
There are those who advocate going armed down those dangerous streets. But you have to ask yourself whether you have the experience or aptitude to match up against a hoodlum who isn't thinking right to begin with. You don't want to get into a quick-draw contest with a hopped-up druggie who's already got his gun out and his mind on your money.
And if you'd rather rely on pepper spray or a taser, do you want to be that close to a demon such as you've encountered to be able to use it? I have heard of at least one case where she emptied her pepper spray canister on an attacker and all it did was infuriate him further and intensify his attack on her.
It ultimately comes back to staying alert. Day and night. Brightly lit street or dim. Lots of people around or few. If you sense danger, get someone to go with you, or wait and go later. But don't allow yourself to be a victim.
This is the list of the most dangerous streets. The numbers after each street indicate the total number of robberies last year on that street or near it:
- Burgundy (40)
- Dauphine (36)
- Bourbon (27)
- Gov Nicholls (14)
- Decatur (13)
- Royal (13)
- St. Philip (13)
- Iberville (13)
- St. Louis (12)
- Frenchmen (10)
- Barracks (10)
- Ursulines (10)
- Bienville (10)
- Chartres (9)
- N. Rampart (9)
- Esplanade (9)
- St. Peter (8)
- Conti (7)
- Canal (6)
- Toulouse (6)
- Pauger (6)
- Kerlerec (4)
- Dumaine (3)
- Orleans Ave. (3)
- St. Ann (3)