Third District Commander, city neighborhood liaison discuss public safety with Gentilly Terrace
The Gentilly Terrace and Gardens Improvement Association’s monthly meeting featured talks by city officials on public safety issues in Gentilly, and how the community may go about learning more or having their voice heard.
On July 12, the neighborhood association hosted presentations from both the NOPD Third District Commander Jeff Walls, and Valerie Bouldin, the Neighborhood Liaison from the Mayor’s Neighborhood Engagement Office.
Walls shared his report on current trends in Third District. In the past four weeks, there’s been an “uptick” in auto burglaries, and officers just cleared five out of seven aggravated assaults by arrest, according to Walls. Those cleared were all domestic cases.
“In the past six months, we’ve made 35 arrests in all the automobile burglaries,” Walls said.
According to the commander, auto burglary victims are leaving visible firearms, purses, keys, and more in their unlocked vehicles. With firearms or vehicles left with their keys inside, some perpetrators will go on to commit crimes with these stolen items.
Public comment in the meeting highlighted how frequently these automobile perpetrators are repeat offenders, how Third District detectives and officers could improve following back up with victims, and how citizens can take action to address car races and ATV riding in the neighborhood.
Walls said people can take pictures of perpetrators car racing or riding ATVs and send them to the NOPD so they can find them and follow up with the suspects. A Third District officer that attended the meeting also suggested having residents register their security cameras with the NOPD, which helps with investigations.
Before leaving, Walls confirmed that the Third District will receive around 10 new patrol cars next month. The packed room in the Gentilly Terrace Elementary School cafeteria gave the commander a round of applause for attending, and he said he plans to come regularly.
Bouldin, a former educator, presented about the NOPD Police Community Advisory Board (PCAB), which was formed by the Mayor and the NOPD in 2011. Each NOPD District contains an advisory board made up of seven community volunteers that coordinate with the District Commander and other high ranking officials.
“The only way that we can make this better is that it must be a collective effort,” Bouldin said. “It can’t be these seven folks sitting around in a room. They need to hear from you.”
Read more about the board below:
The police community advisory board’s purpose is to facilitate interaction between officers and citizens. As an authorized recommendation and participation platform, the PCAB doesn’t influence NOPD budgets, but they do work to engage with District Commanders and others on understanding and informing law enforcement policies and practices. The PCAB is also responsible for helping the NOPD recruit.
The Third District PCAB president is Daniel Kiper, and he can be emailed any community ideas or suggestions for working with NOPD. The next public Third District PCAB meeting will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 5 at the Collier House Community Resource Center, located on 3301 Annette Street.
The last presenter of the night was Gentilly Terrace resident Michelle Collins, who proposed creating a public safety exploratory group within the neighborhood association. She wants to address crime and public safety at large, encompassing concerns like pot holes, lighting, and quality of life.
“It’s about taking our energy and getting it to the right place,” Collins said. “Valerie Bouldin gave us a tremendous amount of information tonight about where we can go to be more effective.”
Collins proposed that this informal public safety group could get together to approach the Third District PCAB board with their ideas.
The Gentilly Terrace neighborhood meeting concluded with an announcement by the Juju Bag Cafe owners about a neighborhood mixer hosted at the restaurant on July 19. The time of the mixer is to be determined.
The Gentilly Terrace and Gardens Improvement Association meets every second Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in the Gentilly Terrace Elementary School cafeteria, located on Arts Street and Mirabeau Avenue. The next meeting takes place on August 9.