Crime, New Orleans
In preparing for our trip to New Orleans, I read several times that one should be very careful wandering around certain districts. One of those cautions involved the visiting of cemetaries.
When we stopped by St. Louis cemetery #3, we were with a tour group. Even then, we were told to stay with the group and not to wander. It seems that these areas attract certain people who are involved with drugs. They tend to cluster deep in the middle of the cemetery, where eyes can't easily find them.
We were perfectly safe walking about the French Quarter, where the presence of policemen was in evidence. Never did we feel in danger while visiting this lovely historic city
The crime in New Orleans is sevier. If you stay in the French Quarter you have the most police protection. I would only go out from that area during the day and you had better know where you are going because one wrong turn and you could easily be in bad trouble. The murders and suicides are plentiful even though the National Guard is patrolling. Fema trailers are everywhere.
I have lived in New Orleans for the past eight years, and I'm sorry to say that the crime here is so bad now that I will move out of the city in January. In the past, the NOPD was able to keep violent crime out of the tourist areas. Incidents of crime against tourists was mostly related to inebriated people exercising poor judgment such as wandering near the adjacent housing projects on the north side of the French Quarter, or seeking illegal drugs on the street. Now, with a significantly reduced police force and a substantially non-functioning city attorney's office, the thugs have taken their violence to new hieghts. One murder per day is common, and three or four murders in one day is no longer uncommon. Many more murders are now committed on the street in broad daylight, and the violence has recently moved into the formerly sacred French Quarter. Two weeks ago, a gunman spraying bullets into a crowed bar on Decatur Street, and has not been apprehended. Two nights ago, an 18-yr old was stabbed to death in the middle of Bourbon Street in the heart of the Quarter. The perpetrator has not been identified. Until recently, I employed off-duty NOPD officers to patrol my business grounds. They tell me that the thugs have no fear of criminal prosecution, becuase the DA's office is more or less non-functional. Even murder suspects are released on bail. To people unfamiliar with New Orleans, this testimony may sound unreal. But believe me, it's every bit as bad as the media reports, and it's getting worse. If you really want to visit New Orleans, I recommend you stay in the tourist areas, and keep your wits about you. Don't engage the street hustlers, and for heaven sake, don't wander out of the Quarter at night. God bless.
Wow, this is the most alarmist warning I've seen.
"Locals of the Quarter have shot bullets into the air at random and it doesn't matter which section of the Quarter you are in anymore. It used to be you were told not to go north near N. Rampart Street and stay in areas with people and well lit sections of the Quarter."
I live in the Quarter. People do not randomly shoot guns off! If you look at the crime stats, the Quarter is one of the safest areas. Police presence on Bourbon Street is heavy. In fact, patrols throughout the Quarter are pretty significant. I used to live in an apartment on Ursuline Ave, where I had windows that looked out on to the streets... used to annoy me, how many patrol cars would drive down the street (they keep their blue lights on, which are VERY bright).
Does that mean you should go walking around, alone, at night, in the quiet sections... no, that would be dumb in any city. Crime does happen here as it does everywhere. But now, even Rampart is getting better to walk along at night... mostly because of several late hour / 24 hour places along there. The best advice I can give is try to stay where it is busy. But also, be smart when you are walking down some of the quieter streets. Bourbon and Royal are the best streets to be on at night. Again, does crime still happen... yes, but the odds are you won't have any problems.
Don't be afraid of this city... just be smart.
I know it sounds dumb, but there are several clown posse's in the quarter. They act like a stage act, but when you stop to watch them, another one tries to pick pocket your pants. I know, this happened to me. We were harrangued by a group of clowns who we thought were performers. Then one of the clowns grabbed my girl friends purse and I chased him about three blocks yelling for him to stop. He then reached inside his large balloon pants and pulled out a spray can and sprayed me in the face. I thought at first it was mace, but it was only clown paint.
We spent the rest of the night at the police station but unfortunately our artist drawings were not helpful as they were all in costume. Just be aware.
I arrived in NOLA on a sunny Sunday afternoon and decided to walk from the Amtrak station to my St Charles avenue hotel because train staff told me it was only about 8 blocks and I could see the right direction so there was no danger of getting lost. As a lone female, another woman asked to walk with me (she was there on business with her suitcase and visted frequently). I am happy she did.
The streets looked lovely and peaceful but within a block a small gang popped up out of nowhere and gave us some moderate hassle (judging by their comments it was because we were female). I am not easily worried - and I walk around alone in many cities - but I was actually (on the inside) scared by them and I think it was lucky there were two of us. They let us move on unharmed. I was grateful that I was wearing jeans and t-shirt with no jewellery, and my small camera was discreetly hidden in my jeans.
I would never normally think twice about walking only a few blocks in broad daylight and I did walk back to the train station alone a couple of days later because it was early (8am-ish) in the morning and I thought the younger gang types would be sleeping late :D I did get followed by street people hassling for money but I (feeling rude though!) ignored them and walked on briskly. Next time if I arrived on a weekend with quiet streets I might well consider a taxi even for such a short distance (sadly). I learned to be more cautious of empty streets in NOLA.
There's a lot of crime in New Orleans. Tourists draw pickpockets, as one might expect, but once you head out of the French Quarter don't expect to be suddenly safe. The demarcation between good neighborhoods and bad ones is pretty non-existent. If you're going someplace, don't walk, take a cab.
The subtle presence of the NOPD are often seen riding motorcycles, cars, bikes or horses around the French Quarter and Central Business District. It is widely known that the NOPD turn a blind eye to the casual cavorting of the average inebriate...however... you pull something stupid - you wind up sleeping it off on a slab of concrete.
If you need to file a report for any reason this would be the place to go. There is an information desk on the first floor if you are lost or have any basic questions. The station is not open to public tours.
Since 1996, when they restructured themselves to place equal responsibility to the 8 districts and increase of citywide manpower, the crime level in the French Quarter and immediate areas has steadily decreased. However, let it be said that you should always be aware of your surroundings and be responsible for yourself and your party.
The station is located on 334 Royal St. at the corner of Royal St. and Conti St next to a Cafe Beignets.
New Orleans is a seriously dangerous city. It is not a place to take any chances whatsoever.
If you must go out at night, stay in highly lighted area filled with other tourists such as Bourbon St.
It is very easy to simply turn a corner and be on a dangerous street. Just stay on well lighted streets where there are other people. Stay away from any shadowy areas where there an no other tourists.
i just got back from New Orleans and had read all the warnings up on these posts and was honestly a bit spooked by them all. i can tell you after 4 days there, we never once encountered anything, nor saw anything that was scary. Sure we heard sirens going up the street but never into the French quarter. We stayed in the quarter or on the Charles street trolley or the Garden district or Jackson square and never had a problem. So don't believe all the posts. It's a big city, i am sure they have crime like any others. But if you are not stupid and stay in the quarter or near where there are groups of people, you'll be fine! Have fun.
I have lived in New Orleans for several years and no it is NOT "just like every other big city" I notice that nearly every local on here has warned about the crime here but the tourists say "I felt perfectly safe" Just because you personally did not have a problem this particular trip does not mean it is safe. You just got lucky. People who actually live here know what is happening in their city. Don't become a statistic!
NOLA can be a very dangerous place.. Where to start? This city has always been a unique place. It's a place you only want to visit and if you do, know some things. NO has always been an outlaw town. Murder, robbery, prostitution and any other crime, is culturally associated with the history of the city. The locals know this, and take advantage of it. The police have always had a history of being corrupt, as well as the state. The police take the job knowing that. Don't dress up or look like money, because somebody will likely rob you. Carry a weapon all the time. This is a very gun oriented culture. The thugs here strive to be the best, at being the worst. Plain and simple. You can literally walk one block this way, or that way, and be confronted by a pistol in your face. Know where you are at all times, and never go alone. You can be killed over a pair of shoes, or less. Here, it is considered cowardly to do a drive-by shooting. They will walk right up to you in broad daylight. I cannot stress enough how dangerous it is here. They are like wolves, and can smell fear. They automatically know if your a tourist and an easy mark. It's about how you carry yourself. I've really never thought much of the french quarter myself. It's home to many homeless and con artist's that do not beg, but boldly approach you with demands. No matter how many times they wash the street, it forever smells like urine. It's definitely a city well suited for a vampire or other immortal.
I've lived in this area for over 10 years. New Orleans is becoming a hotbed of crime.
They do not care who it is that gets in the way. Every day there are more murders. We're hearing more and more of attacks and murders right in the quarter. A marine just lost his life trying to protect the honor of his wife. New Orleans is not safe period
I've been living in New Orleans for the past five years and have NEVER felt safe. I used to love walking around or biking to explore, but not anymore. Each time I walk my heart rate goes up just because I'm scared someone is going to grab me from behind (being a girl I'm more scared for reasons girls understand). I use to walk my huge dog down to the grocery (mid-day) and tie him up while I went inside, but not anymore, A LOT of dogs get stolen(for fighting or because they can't get one on their own(not responsible) and especially small dogs!) so I can't really do that anymore. Today I mostly stay indoors while I wait out my stay. In the past 6 months there have been at least 4 shootings on my block and none of them are on the crime maps. Don't believe the crime maps! Almost every violent crime I've heard of are not on the crime maps or don't even make the news. This may be because uptown is supposed to be nice. My family has never visited by my request. It's not safe at any time of the day! I don't carry a purse or my entire wallet anymore, just my license and some cash in case I get robbed. Read projectnola.com for some of the latest crime news, most of it is on there.
I've been in New Orleans for over three years now, have travelled all over the world including "cautionary" places known for high crime so i feel pretty comfotable making comparisons. Here's my take: New Orleans IS very high crime compared to most American cities for everything from a murder rate 4x the national average to a much higher percentage of robberies, assaults, DUI accidents and other crime. Those asre statistical facts. Will you, as a tourist be affected? Probably not, most aren't, and if you stick to "safe" areas such as the French Quarter and Garden District, you'll probably be fine. But DO be cautious. "Safe" areas in New Orleans are often intermixed & very close to "bad" areas, so its never a good part of town vs bad part. Theft is rampant everywhere and muggings are common - even in parts of the French Quarter in daytime. Use your smarts & gut. If something feels weird, it probably is and you should always be aware your surroundings. Take cabs to neighborhoods you are uncertain about, especially at night - and ask natives. Sometimes crime waves happen in Nola & they often are concentrated in a neighborhood, then move on. I live in the Lower Garden District two blocks off the nice shops & restaurants of Magazine St & there were four armed robberies and 3 seperate shootings within 6 blocks all before 8:30pm in just one week alone. Most blatant last month? lady is sitting on her stoop 1:30 pm in a nice neighborhood, across from a busy restaurant, two guys come up pull a gun on her for her iphone then take off running. So yeah, the fear & caution is real. Still, it's a wonderful city, but has big problems. The New Orleans Police Dept is third world dysfunctional and really cant always prevent bad things or properly handle incidrnts. New York Times just wrote about how bad it is. Regardless, keep valuables at home, guard your cameras, wallets, bags. Don't get so rip-roaring drunk that you become vulnerable. Know your geography and know a cab number. I use United. They are the most reliable & professional.