The overnight robbery of Atchafalaya restaurant on Laurel Street is the second high-profile armed robbery of an Uptown eatery in just over a month, after Patois was robbed in late August. Although such brazen robberies remain rare, armed robberies (defined for the sake of this piece as both armed robberies and carjackings) have been a major problem for New Orleans for much of the last two years.
Armed robberies rose significantly throughout the city in 2014, according to both Calls for Service and Uniform Crime Report data. According to Calls for Service, armed robberies rose from 693 in 2013 to 931 in 2014, a 34.3 percent increase.
Armed robberies have remained at that higher level throughout 2015 with this year on pace for a small rise relative to last year.
Both the Atchafalaya and Patois robberies occurred Uptown, which is defined here as NOPD’s 2nd and 6th Districts (2014 map here). A public records request provided me Calls for Service data broken down by NOPD District through late August 2015. The below chart extracts armed robberies by district since 2011.
The 2nd District, encompassing Audubon Park, Carrollton and more has seen an increase in its share of armed robberies in 2015 while the 6th District, which is further downtown, has had a lower share this year. The 7th District, which roughly corresponds to New Orleans East, has seen the largest percentage of armed robberies in New Orleans each year since 2011.
Breaking down armed robberies since 2011 by just Uptown shows armed robberies there are occurring at roughly around the same rate in 2015 as they have since 2013. The below chart highlights the percentage of the city’s armed robberies that occurred in Uptown for each year beginning in 2011.
Uptown is a big place, and there is one area that is seeing a spike in armed robberies in 2015: ZIP code 70118. This ZIP code is a slimmed-down version of NOPD’s 2nd District. Breaking down armed robberies by just 70118 shows there have already been more armed robberies there through Sept. 21 (52) as there had been in each of the last four full calendar years.
This particular ZIP code is on pace for a nearly 57 percent rise in armed robberies in 2015. The spike in armed robberies in 70118 in 2015 can be seen even more clearly in the below chart. This chart presents the annualized rolling pace of armed robberies in 70118 over a 120 day period since 2011.
The brazen armed robberies of diners at Atchafalaya and Patois may get lots of headlines, but it’s indicative of a larger problem that needs a solution: increasing armed robberies throughout New Orleans. Although not all of Uptown is seeing a spike in armed robberies, it is clear that this issue is impacting residents of ZIP code 70118 in 2015 more than it has in previous years.