Is the recent increase in crime in the Lower Garden District a neighborhood thing or part of a city-wide trend?
On Thursday of last week, I told you of a shooting at St. Vincent’s Guest House steps from my place. Since then,
1. One of our neighborhood association members was accosted inside his house (on Euterpe Street between Prytania and Coliseum) this weekend by three gun-wielding thugs. Although he had a gun put in his face and was beaten up, he ran away and barely escaped an unthinkable fate. The incident has been reported to 6th District police.
2. Our neighborhood association president has heroin junkies shooting up behind his house, while car thefts on his block continue with alarming regularity. Last week, he saw a guy riding a bike through Coliseum Square park with a handgun in one hand.
3. Last night, D and I parked outside the Walgreens on Felicity & St. Charles and were walking in when I heard (quite well) and glimpsed (not so well) one of three gathered kids hit an old man on the head with a full plastic soda bottle. The response time of the Orleans Parish official inside Walgreens was appalling as he didn’t want to take the old man’s complaint seriously.
4. On returning home last night, D and I saw a strange guy sitting on my neighbor’s front porch while working on a laptop computer. I called my neighbor, my neighbor told the guy to get off his property and then I saw Laptop Guy take his laptop and crouch between two cars in front of my house (WTF?). Another neighbor saw this and went out to deal with the weirdo himself. When confronted, Laptop Guy yelled, “I can do what I want!” and scurried from one front porch to another on our block, even running into the yard of my neighbor across the street, until he was run off. D saw him land at Mojo coffee shop, where he should have been in the first place if he wanted wireless internet access, which made D and I suspect that Laptop Guy was attempting to break into networks in our neighborhood. Regardless, strangers sitting on front porches and crouching between cars is suspicious activity unto itself.
Here are two PSAs that stem from Incident 4 above:
a) Secure your wireless network (or don’t put sensitive information on an unsecured network like at coffee shops) and
b) Trespassing or sitting between cars is a great way to get reported to police, your rear hauled in by said police or, worse, the crap kicked out of you and your laptop thrown into oncoming traffic.
What is the deal with crime in this previously calm and relatively safe neighborhood? Are pickings slim elsewhere in town, are criminals getting more confident and brazen all over town, or are these the first signs of a good neighborhood (yet not as well-patrolled as the Garden District proper or Uptown) going bad?
Lower Garden District Meeting Announcement: Meeting room at the Kingsley house on Wednesday, Sep 12th from 7 – 9 pm. As far as I know, Stacy Head and her legislative aide, Carla Gendusa, will be there along with the Coliseum Square neighborhood association president, Robert Wolf. Robert is petitioning for the presence of the 6th District police captain as well as representatives from the DA’s office, FBI, ATF, CIA, or “whomever else can inform us as to what they are doing and what we can do to get crime under control in the LGD.”