Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux has offered a word of praise for the New Orleans Police Department, saying investigators in the 8th District appear to have gotten their act together when it comes to documenting thefts.
The inspector general issued a report about two years ago slamming the district for improperly downgrading the swiping of wallets and purses in the French Quarter, which in many cases meant no follow-up investigation was conducted.
At least 177 incidents were found to have been misclassified, according to Quatrevaux’s analysis in 2013. Officers had written reports saying stolen wallets and purses had been lost, even when the missing debit or credit cards were later used illegally.
Fast-forward to 2015, and there are several signs the 8th District has taken “decisive steps to remedy this situation,” Quatrevaux wrote in a letter to Superintendent Michael Harrison released Monday.
For one thing, the department has jettisoned the problematic signal “21L” to document items as missing or stolen.
Quatrevaux said his office recently completed a follow-up review that showed officers in the 8th District reported 471 thefts by fraud over the first seven months of 2014 and 382 thefts by fraud through July of this year. That compares with zero thefts by fraud — the police signal is 67F — reported during the first seven months of 2013.
“I commend the 8th District, acting under the direction of Cmdr. Jeffrey Walls, in its efforts to investigate and properly document thefts by fraud in the French Quarter,” Quatrevaux wrote.
The inspector general highlighted the case of a tourist who became inebriated on Bourbon Street and had his pocket picked. A detective in the 8th District used surveillance footage from an ATM where the tourist’s credit card had been used to identify and arrest the thief.
“I would like to take this opportunity,” Quatrevaux wrote, “to recognize the 8th District’s efforts in improving reporting of crime in its area of responsibility.”
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