NEW ORLEANS - Car burglars are prowling the streets of a New Orleans neighborhood, looking for an easy target.
Crime maps show a spike in Lakeview car burglaries over the last week.
A home surveillance video from the 6800 block of General Diaz Street shows three men prowling a Lakeview neighborhood in the middle of the night, pulling on car door handles, apparently searching for a crime of opportunity. When they discover the doors are locked, the men walk away.
Another camera captured three men crossing through a backyard and walking to a black suburban overnight Thursday in the 6700 block of Colbert Street. They open the door, but that triggers the alarm, sending them running.
“Around 2:30 a.m., I woke up to hear my car alarm going off,” said Amy Burke, owner of the suburban. Her cameras captured the incident.
“What's going to be next?” asked Burke. “They're trying car handles, what if we were coming home and we startled them, they might not be out to hurt anybody but if they were cutting through my lot and they saw us, you don't know what they would have done.”
Thankfully, nothing was stolen from Burke's vehicle, but others haven't been so lucky.
Four blocks away the same night, in the 6300 block of Colbert Street, burglars broke into another car.
It's part of a recent rash of car burglaries in the area.
“It's very unnerving to know that while you're sleeping, here come these creepy crawlers down the street, looking to commit burglaries and steal things,” said Val Cupit, head of Lakeview Crime Watch.
Crime maps show 10 Lakeview neighbors have fallen victim to an auto burglary in the last week, and another car was stolen.
Police said 90 percent of the vehicles were left unlocked, including three on Monday. One car even had the keys inside, and a criminal drove it off. Police also recovered five stolen bicycles Monday at Vicksburg and Mouton. They believe Monday’s crimes, at least, are related.
“Until we all start locking our cars, they're not going to leave our neighborhood,” said Burke, noting that she locked her vehicle, but the passenger door’s lock had been broken for some time.
New Orleans police have beefed up patrols in the area, said NOPD spokeswoman Remi Braden.
Police are reviewing surveillance video and working with neighbors to come up with possible suspect descriptions.
Crime maps show there were a total of 82 auto burglaries throughout the city of New Orleans in the last week.
NOPD reminds everyone to lock your vehicles, and don't leave anything valuable in plain view on the car seats.
IF you have any information about the auto burglaries, call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.