NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – “We were a bit surprised when we got to our hotel and there were lots of warnings about the security outside and the first night we were down Royal Street and there was an ambulance picking up some people who were lying on the street and we thought ‘well, welcome to New Orleans,” says tourist from Australia Robyn Hogin.
It’s not the warm welcome you want to see when you’re on vacation and for those who live here, crime in the French Quarter hits far too close to home.
“Holdups, armed robberies, people with knives are stabbing people down on Decatur Street over and over and so the fear is a personal fear, it’s like when you’re walking down the sidewalk there’s risk,” says local Tony Smith.
“Dauphine what they call the financial district is very dangerous, I’ve actually had two weeks ago had two different friends get mugged,” says local Randy Jackson who has worked in the French Quarter for seventeen years.
With the departure of 32 state troopers who were temporarily assigned to patrol the French Quarter at night, fear has turned to frustration.
“Especially after 9 o’clock at night, it’s a big risk and the police should be out here but they’re just not, I don’t know where they are but they’re not here,” says Smith.
It’s the most popular destination point in the city so while the French Quarter isn’t the most dangerous part of New Orleans, crime here captures the most attention.
“Everybody needs to contribute to making the city safe and when they don’t contribute to making the city safe or the federal government or state government doesn’t do its job it falls on the citizens of New Orleans who have lots of things on their back,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said.
“The French Quarter as you know is a National Historic District, I shouldn’t have to remind you that National Historic District, especially the mall in Washington D.C., also has a bevy of interior police officers as well so the federal the state and local authorities have a responsibility, they should make sure that their presence is known and we will always welcome them and their assistance. We will get past this particular issue, I happen to think it relates to manpower.”
With no additional state troopers and an understaffed police force, concerns that the community is underserved are rising.
“The New Orleans police you never see them, you don’t see them anywhere,” says Smith.
“We haven’t seen any police at all, I haven’t seen them. Not at all,” says Hogin.