400+ cars stolen in New Orleans in first 16 days of 2023
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Thieves have stolen hundreds of cars in New Orleans in the first 16 days of the new year, according to data from the New Orleans Police Department.
The NOPD says it has responded to 403 calls for service related to stolen cars. The Metropolitan Crime Commission believes that number is a bit higher, tracking over 500 car thefts.
“It’s about a car theft an hour. Over 20 cars stolen a day,” says Rafael Goyeneche with the MCC. “We’re on pace right now to see over 4% of cars in the city of New Orleans stolen this year.”
In one of the more recent incidents, a group of thieves pulled up to a house in the 4400 block of Spain Street.
One of the suspects gets out of a white car, walks around to the victim’s Honda, breaks the rear driver’s side window, and works for several minutes to get the car started.
“Then you see the lights on my car come on,” says the victim, who did not wish to be identified, while reviewing surveillance video. “The white car eases off and the other two follow in line.”
The victim says it’s frightening.
“I think it should be a higher priority within the city government to address this,” the victim says. “There’s no repercussion. They can continue to do it and why not? They’re not scared of anything.”
A breakdown by district shows car thefts are happening everywhere. In Lakeview and Gentilly, 67 cars have been stolen between Jan. 1-16.
“It’s just disconcerting and unsettling obviously.” the victim says. “The crime is out of control and it doesn’t seem to get any better.”
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Car burglaries are also happening at an alarming rate across New Orleans.
On Wed., Jan. 18, busted windows and glass littered the parking lot of a Marigny apartment complex.
“I saw my driver’s door window laying on the ground. We walked the lot and saw other cars,” a victim says. “To them, it’s a game but to us, it’s costing us money.”
According to the NOPD, 333 cars have been burglarized since the start of the year.
“It’s not surprising,” another victim says. “I get it because the NOPD... the staff levels are dangerously low right now and the changes that need to be made... or this city will continue to go under and right now it’s at such a critical point.”
The NOPD says it is working to increase patrols in hot spots around New Orleans.
“They’ll put additional assets and resources there, which means there are fewer available assets and resources for the rest of the town,” Goyeneche says. “That is the reality of the manpower crisis.”
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