A resident was coming home (8300 block of Apricot) from grocery shopping at Roberts and ran into 3 young black men coming out of the alley on the side of her house. They looked like they were carrying stuff under their jackets. She yelled at them "WTF are you doing!!!" and they scattered. Another one of our neighbors (from Cambronne) was across the street picking up the priest to take him to the airport. He followed the 3 guys in his car. They split up and he saw one of the guys had a small silver handgun. Both residents called 911. I was still on the phone with the home owner so I heard some of the content of our Cambronne neighbor's report over the phone to 911. One of the men returned to Apricot street He had turned his jacket inside out and he got into a small white van (left of resident's house and across from the church) and BACKED UP down the one way street so that the resident was not able to get the license place. The resident seems confident that nothing was taken from her house. Her dogs were upstairs and loud and nasty and her downstairs didn't look broken into.
The cops did arrive very quickly after the 911 reports. 2 cars. They checked out her alleyway. Officer B.Duncan talked to the resident. He took no written notes. While he was still on the street talking to resident another neighbor from the 8200 Pritchard Place drove up got out of his car and said he saw the same 3 young black men coming out of the alley across the street between a house in the 2900 block of Dublin. He too yelled at them like Karen and they scattered. He said one guy had on a black leather coat and was black with close cropped hair and shorter than he was which would be less than 5'5" or going by where he had his hand could have been less than 5 feet. The other 2 guys had on "winter jackets" with their shirts sticking out. B. Duncan left with our 8200 Pritchard Place neighbor, presumably to take more statements.
While we are pleased that the police showed up so quickly, our conversation with Officer B. Duncan was galling and insulting. He said repeatedly that we lived in a bad neighborhood. As if because of this we should expect to have gun carrying thieves in our alleyways. WE DON'T. We had not one but 3 EYEWITNESSES associated with these gun carrying criminals in our neighborhood. The fact that we were on the street and that the neighborhood watch approach was working and doing exactly what the cops say they want from us didn't seem to matter to the officer because "We live in a bad neighborhood". When asked what it was that made this a bad neighborhood he said that it is poorly lit (which isn't true) and that Leonidas is "right there". He said he lived on Pritchard @ Cambronne 2 years ago after Katrina. Interesting because I never saw him while repeatedly handing our flyers to start our neighborhood organization. We mentioned that the crime statistics do not support the fact that this is "a bad neighborhood". Officer B. Duncan didn't seem to even hear this.
When we call the cops we do not want to feel like we are being blown off because "we live in a bad neighborhood". 1) Statistically this is not true. 2) Our Neighborhood Watch is very active, as today's actions shows. 3) Our neighborhood organization is very active at work making this better neighborhood, as recent emails regarding tire dumping behind AutoZone shows. What we expect from NOPD is support when we work against the "bad guys", not flip comments about "living in a bad neighborhood" again in a "what to you expect manner".
Jenel Hazlett - President NorthWest Carrollton
----- NOPD Response -----
Response From: Bruce Little
Sent: Dec 21, 2008 8:57 PM
To: email@example.com, "Kirk M. Bouyelas"
Subject: Re: Neighborhood Watch Report
I am thrilled by the level of cooperation and response from all of the neighborhood groups in the Second District. Today was a perfect example of how it is supposed to work
The Second District is currently leading the entire city in not only crime reduction but also leads each week in arrests. Morale is very high and the officers and citizens are proud of our accomplishments. It is only your organization that continues to send derogatory emails. I'm not sure why but our successes speak for themselves.
Major Bruce Little
Commander Second District
New Orleans Police Department-
Sent using BlackBerry
It has been a few days since I've personally been on Email. It's the holidays and everyone deserves a break now and then.
A couple of things:
I understand that there are times in any job when proficiency and efficiency can appear cold and heartless to those not in the middle of doing the job. Imagine a surgeon cutting into a patient. Is it possible to do that with out some detachment? How you feel when that patient is your loved one and you are watching is anything but detached. I'm sure you can see the analogies.
When I wrote my email I wanted to write down what I had seen and heard as quickly as possible so as not to loose anything. Also I was offended when I wrote it and the combination of being offended and trying to get down all the data may not have been the best combination.
But there is something else in this equation that I am still concerned you may be missing. The secret to life is public relations. We, all of us law-abiding citizens who want to work with the police, want a RELATIONSHIP with the police of the 2nd district. We in NorthWest Carrollton know that there are other neighborhoods who "are nicer", have more wealth, have more power, and on the other side of the coin we know there are neighborhoods that are a lot worse than ours, that don't have power or influence. When officers "dis the hood" while we have folks on the street doing what we can to stop the bad guys the relationship is damaged. What I was trying to get across in my email was that what was said: "this is a bad neighborhood" damages the relationship. Given that this was a minor incident in the grand scheme of things, no murder, no gun fire, just gun toting, there was, in my opinion, an opportunity for the police to say something like: "Thanks for being on the lookout, thanks for calling. It is impressive to have so many people work together and report criminal activity. We will let you know what our investigation finds."
See it isn't just about what your people do. As you indicate they did their difficult job but didn't find anything - this time. The problem is that without our email, we would have never known this. What we would have been left with is a feeling that the cops think this is a bad neighborhood and have blown us off. And that is inaccurate and damages the relationship and is exactly what can prevent people from calling in next time. We, the representatives of NorthWest Carrollton, don't want that and neither do you. My hope when I sent the email was that the information could be helpful but most importantly to let you, as leader of the 2nd district, know how important the "public relations" aspect is of the cops on the street. The NWCCA board will continue to call on and communicate with NOPD but given a similar experience other members and citizens living in NWCCA might have just climbed back into their holes and checked out or worse "dis'd the NOPD". And none of us want that.
Thanks for doing the difficult job that you and your team do for us. Have the happiest and safest of holidays,
Jenel Hazlett - NorthWest Carrollton bounded by Claiborne-Carrollton-Earhart-Leonidas