When Ashley Bartlett-Petkovsek and her husband moved to New Orleans two years ago they felt excited about their home in the Broadmoor neighborhood. Petkovsek says the charm and quiet ambience she once felt for her neighborhood is now shattered. Two days before Thanksgiving, she, her husband, parents and sister were carjacked in front of the couple's home by two men.
"I really thought they were going to kill us. They were like, 'Give me your keys, give me your keys' and my husband was like all right, just take the car keys, just let me take the other stuff off it, and he put the gun right in my husband's face," said Bartlett-Petkovsek.
She's now considering an offer from the Broadmoor Improvement Association that provides a rebate to Broadmoor homeowners who install a crime camera through ProjectNOLA.
A few blocks from the site of the carjacking, about dozen of those crime cameras are in place along S. Broad Street near Washington Avenue. New Orleans City Council Member LaToya Cantrell says the cameras are part of her crime camera initiative which came to fruition after several shootings and murders took place near the intersection of Broad and Washington.
"We can be proactive, instead of reacting crime, we can catch criminals in action and also push them toward being prosecuted," said Cantrell, the council member representing district B.
Several of the crime cameras are watching over Hillary Gutman's bakery. She opened Laurel Street Bakery on South Broad two months ago. Her business is nestled along a corridor that is targeted for an $8 million revitalization project. The revitalization included a new health clinic, more business and, if necessary, more cameras.
Gutman says that particular stretch of South Broad has great potential to be transformed, but crime can undercut the progress. She says the crime cameras combined with strong police presence can dramatically impact frequency of crime in the area.
"I think it's like an invisible police force. I certainly don't think cameras will fix everything but they certainly are not going to hurt at all. The more the better," said Gutman.
As for Ashley Bartlett-Petkovsek, her car was recovered, but her sense of safety is still missing.
"I don't feel safe. I'm really scared. These people took something from that a little bit of me will never get back," said Bartlett-Petkovsek.
Police are still searching for suspects in the incident.
This story was developed in partnership with the Uptown Messenger which reports that armed robbery in the NOPD's second district is down 35-percent compared to this time last year. Broadmoor residents interested in the crime camera rebate should visit: http://broadmoorimprovement.com/BIA/Welcome.html