The city has seen a significant rise in violent crime, including skyrocketing homicides, with the highest per capita rate among cities in the United States. The Big Easy saw 273 carjackings in the last year alone, compared to 103 in 2019. The sharp increase in crime has caused some residents to start taking precautions to avoid being targets, like avoiding using their cell phones while sitting in their cars.
"You try to park close to your house or where you’re going," Kelly, of New Orleans, told Fox News. "You don’t sit in your car and play on your phone."
Another woman, Sally, told people that they "have to be aware of what's going on" at all times when they leave the house.
Other US cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington, DC, and Minneapolis have all seen increases in crime. Philadelphia, for example, has seen carjackings increase by nearly 500 percent since 2019, with over 1,300 incidents reported in 2022, the Philadelphia Police Department states.
Crime was so bad in the Pelican state's largest city last year that the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) had to put a public notice out that it would be hiring civilians to do police work, as cops had left the force in droves.
NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said, "As we take calls over the phone, there may be some evidence that needs to be collected with that call. We’ll have civilian investigators go out and collect that evidence instead of an officer having to go out there and collect that evidence."
The city is currently celebrating its first Mardi Gras and Easter season after being crowned the "murder capital" of the US, leaving some residents worried if the new title will impact the festivities.
So far in 2023, homicides are up 14 percent on top of the increase that was seen in 2022, when 277 homicides were recorded. It was the deadliest year the city had seen since 1996.
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