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'There’s a war in this city' | Mid-City and Bayou St.John meet about spike in carjackings

“I have noticed that young men walk down the streets. They’re looking in cars. They’re on the phone,” one man said.

NEW ORLEANS — Friday evening, residents of Mid-City and Bayou St. John gathered on the banks of the bayou with hopes of stopping a dangerous trend in its tracks.

They are fed up with a string of violent carjackings and attempted car thefts in the neighborhood.

Lining up to take the microphone, they voiced their concerns to elected officials and city representatives.

“I have noticed that young men walk down the streets. They’re looking in cars. They’re on the phone,” one man said.

Another said, taking the mic, “There’s a war in this city. I’m not a perpetrator, I’m a victim.”

At least four armed carjackings or attempted car thefts have taken place in Mid City and Bayou St. John in just the last two weeks.

“I mean, none of it is acceptable but when guns are involved, it’s just a matter of time,” said Stephanie Lyman, who lives in the neighborhood.

In one case caught on surveillance camera, a would-be car thief gets behind the wheel of a car being worked on at an auto shop. When confronted, the person got out of the car and an accomplice pulled a huge gun.

Hours later, the same or a similar getaway car was used to steal another car nearby.

There have been at least four cases like this with at least one serious injury.

Another woman was carjacked and run over on Toulouse Street. Councilmember Joe Giarrusso said the woman was run over twice and her pelvis was broken.

A woman stepped forward at the meeting, saying she’s the victim’s niece.

“My aunt was the one who was carjacked on Tuesday. She remains in ICU, as Captain Roberts indicated, she was run over twice by a vehicle,” she said.

Captain LeJon Roberts of the First District reiterated NOPD’s commitment to solving the string of crimes.

“Over the past two days, I’ve been appalled by what’s been going on,” he said. NOPD suggests the suspects may be juveniles and have new information revealing they’re likely repeat offenders.

“They’re becoming more and more brazen,” said Capt. Roberts.

People also grilled Assistant District Attorney Bob White on why children who commit violent crimes are released without intervention. He said the DA’s office is asking judges to keep juvenile offenders in custody, but judges are simply following the law.

“We are enforcing the law and we will continue to do so,” said White.

Still, the community wants to send the message that they’re watching and they want answers.

“I think all of us know that without doing anything, nothing will happen,” said Lyman.

Police say if you see suspicious activity in your neighborhood – like people looking in car windows – call 911.

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