NEW ORLEANS – NOPD believes carjackings across the city are becoming more dangerous as armed thieves are doing whatever they have to do to steal people’s cars.
In fact, a woman is in the hospital after getting run over in a carjacking earlier this week.
Friday night, residents gathered along Bayou St. John to air their frustrations to NOPD, the District Attorney’s Office and a city councilmember.
One woman said, “I was carjacked and I will tell you, literally, I’m not the same. I’m traumatized and having a hard time getting over it.”
Carjackings are up 62% this year in New Orleans, that’s according to crime stats. Over the last several weeks, NOPD has issued warnings about carjackings and auto thefts. Often, the suspects are armed.
“When guns are involved, it’s just a matter of time,” said Stephany Lyman who helped organize the neighborhood meeting.
More than 100 residents showed up wanting answers about the suspects and how to prevent these crimes.
One woman said, “If you know who is committing the crime and you also know that the judges are letting them out, why is there no program to intervene?”
A man said, “You know where the crime is taking place at. Put a stakeout car! Whatever happened to the undercover police…the guy that used to ride around in the truck or old raggedy car that used to catch me?”
Investigators believe the suspects are teens.
Robert White with the DA’s office said the juvenile justice system allows for release. Although when a suspect is picked up multiple times, it’s less likely the juvenile will be released.
“If they’re convicted of carjacking or other serious crimes, they go into a custodial detention center where they’re not out on the street,” White said.
NOPD is working several leads and in some cases believes the suspects are habitual juvenile offenders.
SGT. Claudia Bruce said, “We do have repeated locations where the vehicles are being recovered which has lead us to identify the groups and the juveniles that are working.”