NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – Mid-City has one of the densest Hispanic populations in the city of New Orleans; and apparently thieves know it. Advocacy groups say Hispanics are being targeted for armed robbery; and many of the crimes are not being reported.
Staffers at Leticia’s Hair Salon didn’t want to speak on camera, but told us in no uncertain terms that the fear of being robbed is real.
“At all times now she has to keep the door locked because she’s had problem with people going in there in the middle of the day,” an unidentified neighbor said.
Crimes against Hispanics are on the rise in Mid-City everything from armed robberies to physical attacks.
Business owners say some of them have happened in the 4000 block of Tulane Avenue.
“I say it’s a shame.”
This man who describes himself as Hispanic doesn’t want to be identified.
He’s aware of the rise in crimes against Hispanics. He says construction workers and day laborers are often targeted in broad daylight.
“There’s such mistrust that they don’t believe that they are safe going and putting their money in a bank.”
Construction Project Manager Mike Wilkerson doesn’t hire day laborers but understands their plight.
“Because a lot of them are not legal and they’re afraid that if they do get robbed they can’t go to the police,” Wilkerson said.
“You’ve got to understand where most of these people come from the police are not their friend,” the neighbor added.
Community Advocates are working to build trust and bridge the gap between the people and police.
In a statement, NOPD spokesman Benjamin Hammond said, “We encourage anyone who is the victim of a crime to report it to the NOPD. They are not asked to provide proof of residency or citizenship.”
The Mid-City Business Association has installed Project NOLA crime cameras near Hispanic bars along Tulane Avenue.
“Most of them unfortunately decide to go out partying and they carry their whole paycheck with them,” the neighbor said.
“They probably don’t have a bank account so some of the thieves know it,” Wilkerson said.
Hammond went on to say the NOPD recruits and hires officers from diverse backgrounds in order to effectively communicate with residents.