NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – An Uptown business owner has a new appreciation for how short-staffed the New Orleans Police Department is these days after a car crashed into her store early New Year’s Day and the cops didn’t show until about nine hours later.

“At 10:30-ish in the morning, I got a text from a friend saying, ‘I’m sorry about what happened at Vibrant. Are you okay?’ I looked at the cameras, and I thought someone had broken in,” the owner of Vibrant Market on Magazine Street, Lauren Trostorff, said. “There was glass and products all over the ground, so I rushed over.”

Trostorff says a car crashed into her store around 4:30 a.m. Sunday morning. She says police were called around 4:40 a.m., but an officer did not show up until about 1:30 p.m. that afternoon.

“[The responding officer] said [Saturday night] and [Sunday morning], there were only three officers on duty, and there had already been two homicides after midnight, so they were not able to get here,” Trostorff said.

The business owner believes the staffing shortage at NOPD is to blame and that it is critical. 

“So, it’s not their fault, but it is our leaders’ responsibility to make sure that that’s not the situation, and it’s been that situation for far too long, so I was not surprised,” Trostorff said.

She says outside help may be the solution.

“The city needs help,” Trostorff said. “If they cannot get the police under control on their own, obviously, they need to send in extra help because the criminals at this point know they can get away with everything.”

According to the police report, it is being investigated as a hit-and-run and they have identified the driver.

We reached out to NOPD Tuesday afternoon for comment on the story, and a spokesperson said they are looking into it.

Despite ongoing construction, Vibrant Market reopened Tuesday afternoon.

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