NOPD: Violent crimes, not property crimes, note ‘hot zones’
The monthly Third District anti-crime meeting for July informed the public of how the NOPD categorizes “hot zones” for deployment. Areas with high property crimes won’t show up on the maps officers use for patrols, according to Sergeant Sandra Contreras.
Contreras, who formerly worked in the Eighth District, is ranked directly after Commander Jeff Walls in the Third District. She led the public meeting on July 5, attended by a handful of people, that touched on crime statistics and Third District hot zones.
According to a report by Sergeant Rene’ C. Benjamin, the Commander of the NOPD Lakeview Crime Prevention District, Lakeview has had 25 out of 26 vehicles stolen in the area from the start of this year to July 2, due to car keys being inside vehicle left unlocked. So far 21 of the 26 stolen vehicles have been recovered.
“This is where we have to send our manpower,” Contreras said in reference to the hot zones. “That’s where they want us to send our manpower.” She noted that as how Lakeview gets less officers deployed even though auto burglary rates are high.
Contreras said she considers Lakeview a frequent target for such property crimes, but the area is not popping up as a hot zone on her own map, provided to the NOPD by their Management Analytics for eXcellence (MAX) data program.
“We’re having hot zones in (zone) Y because of all the aggravated assaults, but they’re all domestic,” Contreras said. “But because they’re aggravated, and they’re violent, and we have so many in that zone, they make us go to that zone.”
Contreras explained that the district’s aggravated assaults are up 133% in the last four weeks, comparing six cases to 14, but since the crimes are mostly domestic incidents, they are solved more easily.
The Third District sends units to areas like Lakeview that are not observed by their maps’ hot zones anyway, because officers stay up to date with how the district is doing on property crimes, one of the district’s largest trends.
An initiative Contreras said she’s just started is mandating that all Third District detectives, general assignment, and night watch officers head to a designated hot zone for at least 30 minutes each day.
“I think it’s kind of good for the detectives too,” Contreras added. “Go out and look at the area. Go meet the people. Sometimes it’s going to be the people that are going to be the ones that are going to call you and tell you about a robbery.”
She said encouraging the officers to leave the station helps them to destress as well. Contreras concluded the meeting by telling the public about a future NOPD pay increase and also a take-home vehicle program that will be implemented for Orleans Parish field police.
Allegedly, the pay increase will take place around the beginning of 2018 and the take-home car program will initiate by the end of this year.
“I did an analysis for take-home cars, and it’s actually cheaper if an officer has take-home cars because they’re keeping up with the maintenance,” Contreras said.
Following the Third District’s weekly Tuesday meeting on July 11, the Gentilly Terrace and Gardens Improvement Association will have their monthly meeting Wednesday night (July 12) with guest speakers Third District Commander Jeff Walls and Valerie Bouldin, Neighborhood Liaison from the Mayor’s Neighborhood Engagement Office. The meeting on public safety will take place in the Gentilly Terrace Elementary School cafeteria, located on Arts Street and Mirabeau Avenue at 6:30 p.m.