NOPD focuses on armed robberies

NIA PORTER

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The Second District Police Department plans on decreasing the number of armed robberies that occur around the Uptown area in 2013.

Not only have robberies been a serious problem in the Uptown area, but they have also been a serious problem throughout the city of New Orleans. According to the FBI, the number of armed robberies in New Orleans rose from 436 in 2011 to 541 in 2012.

Second District Police Commander Paul Noel said robberies are important to the police department.

“I’ve always said from day one that armed robberies are the most important thing we deal with up here – the most important problem we deal with everyday,” Noel said.

Decreasing the number of armed robberies is listed as one of the goals the Second District Police Department hopes to achieve by the end of the year. Noel stressed the importance of stopping these robberies from occurring at a COMSTAT meeting held on March 6.

According to Dee Wood Harper, Loyola professor emeritus of criminal justice, one of the ways the police department can tackle this issue is by taking advantage of several different strategies, one of which is a baiting technique.

“They get in street clothes and they act on it,” Harper said. “Some of the guys would be sort of like the bait, if you will, and the other guys are around waiting for the perp to scoop down on them.”

Harper said that these robbers often get away due to the lack of witnesses. When university students are returning to their dorms in the middle of the night by themselves, they are more likely to be targeted.

“I know a lot of these guys are around Maple and Oak streets, and they’re targeting these university students,” Harper said.

Loyola students have also voiced their opinions about safety around campus. Jasmine Brown, marketing senior, said that although she feels like there should be more of a Loyola University Police Department presence on surrounding streets, like Calhoun and Palmer, she generally feels pretty safe in the area.

“Between LUPD and TUPD’s patrolling, I usually see one or the other looking after the area,” Brown said. “There’s never been a personal instance that I needed LUPD and they did not come in a timely manner ready to fix the problem,” said Brown.

Noel and his officers are hopeful that they will reach all of their goals for 2013. Besides armed robberies, the numbers of thefts and burglaries are also key issues they hope to lower.

“It’s really hard for us to maintain the number of people feeling safe in their own neighborhoods if we’re not knocking some of these criminals off of the street,” Noel said to his district officers.

Nia Porter can be reached at

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