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Monica Hernandez / Eyewitness News
Email: mhernandez@wwltv.com | Twitter: @mhernandezwwl

NEW ORLEANS Dozens across New Orleans joined police to march against crime Wednesday night in each of the eight police districts.

Chief Ronal Serpas joined the march in the Fifth District, which has the highest murder rate so far this year.

Police say the St. Roch neighborhood in particular is experiencing a spike in crime this month.

Among dozens who marched against crime in the area, Bill Murphy knows first-hand how important it is to take a stand. He was attacked around 9:40 p.m. Sunday while walking to get groceries.

'Bunch of guys decided they wanted to beat somebody up, and I happened to be in the wrong place,' said Murphy, the vice president of the St. Roch Improvement Association.

Murphy said about eight teenage boys kicked and punched him, sending him to the hospital. His laptop was taken, but his wallet was untouched.

Murphy face is still scratched and bruised. He said he had to get stitches.

He was attacked near a blighted building at Music and Uquhart Street. His was one of several attacks in the last month, including one just the day before in which a group of teens beat another man was beaten at St. Roch and Claiborne Avenues shortly after 9 p.m. Neighbors say his cell phone was stolen.

'We're going to find out who you are, we're going to get you,' Serpas said.

Crimes marches are meant to encourage neighbors to work with police to take a stand against crime in their neighborhoods.

Wednesday night, the march stopped at St. Roch playground, where a 17-year-old high school football player was gunned down last month.

This month, crime maps show five robberies, a murder and two rapes have been reported in the St. Roch community alone.

'We've always had the issue of murders and shootings but the issues of beatings and rapes are disheartening as a leader in this community,' said Derrick Floyd, president of the St. Roch Improvement Association.

Blight and poor lighting in the area only makes crime worse, Murphy said. Police say they have increased patrols in the area, but neighbors say more police are needed to keep their neighborhood safe.

Police don't believe the two recent beatings are related and say it is unclear at this point if either are gang-related.

If you have any information that could help, call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.

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