Unfortunately, the police did not follow the group as they moved the party to City Park. In the wee hours of Sunday morning, the revelry turned to gunfire and two people were shot. Crime in New Orleans has spread from the hotspots to supposedly safe places like City Park, a place that is purported to be an area devoted to family oriented recreation. At City Park, parents are supposed to feel safe enough to bring their children to enjoy the rides or the train. Instead, City Park neighbors and employees at the 24-hour Morning Call restaurant are worried about their safety.
In recent weeks, there have been several incidents where large crowds have congregated near the Morning Call restaurant. In fact, the restaurant manager is concerned about “too many people here in the park.”
What is being done by city park officials to combat this surge in violent crime? Well, in recent days, the City Park board has proposed a ban on smoking. This ridiculous idea was floated after the citywide ban was enacted several weeks ago. In reality, smoking is not a serious problem in City Park, but violent crime is becoming one. City Park police only patrol during limited hours, but criminals work on a 24/7 schedule. To deal with the threat, the NOPD promises to increase patrols from officers in the 3rd district; however, the problem with this scenario is that there are too few officers and too many crime hotspots.
During a recent visit to the 3rd district police headquarters, I noticed that trailers are still being used, the elevator was not working in the main building and that there was dilapidated equipment and furnishings and a generally depressed work environment. I was at the headquarters accompanying my wife who wanted to report an incident that occurred near her workplace. After seven hours of waiting for a return phone call, we had to personally visit the 3rd district headquarters to get a report completed. At the headquarters, we had to wait another 90 minutes before the report was actually taken.
Obviously, the police are working hard, but there are not enough officers and they are overwhelmed. It is not viable to expect the NOPD to solve this upsurge in City Park crime. It is time that park officials spent more time on improving their security forces and less time on banning smoking. Real threats deserve their full attention now before more innocent people are raped or shot.