NEW ORLEANS — Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson warned residents on Monday about an uptick in crimes committed by juveniles around the city.
According to Ferguson, the NOPD has arrested at least 238 juveniles so far in 2019. He said it appears many of the teenage offenders have been armed, dangerous and responsible for a growing number of violent offenses in the parish.
Ferguson stopped just short of saying there is a juvenile crime problem in the city, but said juvenile offenders in New Orleans have become more bold and brazen in the past weeks.
RELATED: 'A lot of anger in me'
At a press conference Monday, Ferguson said it appears several of the same groups of young people are committing crimes around the city, including a growing number of armed robberies.
Over the weekend, video captured a group of five juveniles carjacking the 67-year-old father of New Orleans City Councilwoman Cyndi Nguyen.
It happened around 2 p.m. Sunday, not far from the Mary Queen of Vietnam church on Dwyer Boulevard in New Orleans East.
"This is a very unfortunate incident. He was accosted while being in his vehicle and these, what we believe to be juveniles, both were armed. That is concerning. I attribute that to some of the auto burglaries which we have weapons in these vehicles," Ferguson said.
Ferguson said the juveniles were carrying guns when they pulled Nguyen out of his SUV. Councilwoman Nguyen said her father survived the carjacking with no injuries
Ferguson said they have not yet connected the carjackers to other crimes but admits to a recent rash of juvenile offenses in the city.
"Just last week, we put out a notification to everyone identifying the crime trend of violent homicides, armed robberies, non-fatal shootings. We are down in those offenses, however, there is increase in auto burglaries and auto thefts and more importantly over the last week or two we have identified juveniles becoming more brazen in these particular crimes," Ferguson said.
The NOPD's 238 juvenile arrests so far this year have been for incidents ranging from auto burglary to murder, Ferguson said.
According to the department, there were 1232 arrests of juveniles in 2018, 735 of which were on felony charges. 2017 saw 476 felonies out of 965 total juvenile arrests, up from 2016 which had 786 arrests and 300 felonies.