Apr 272012

NOPD Second District officers made arrests that took two guns off the streets in the last week, but were essentially thwarted by two residents of the Second District who left their guns in unlocked cars to be stolen by other criminals, officials said Wednesday.

Unlocked vehicles have long accounted for an overwhelming majority of the automobile “break-ins” in the Uptown-based NOPD Second District, roughly around two-thirds of them, Commander Paul Noel has estimated. In recent weeks, that ratio has risen to about three-fourths, and in the last week, literally 10 out of the 11 auto burglaries were of unlocked vehicles, police said at the weekly meeting of the Uptown-based Second District on Wednesday.

While some of those cases merely represent a nuisance, those in which the victims left guns in their unlocked vehicles are particularly upsetting, Noel said, because each one represents an opportunistic criminal that has now become armed. Two such cases took place last week, one in the 2600 block of Octavia, and the other in the 8300 block of Claiborne, reported property-crimes Sgt. Warren Keller.

“The citizens of this city are putting their own guns back on the street that end up being used against them,” Noel said. “You shouldn’t leave a gun in the car at all, but unlocked?”

Meanwhile, Second District police made several recent gun cases, according to arrest reports.

Around 1 a.m. Monday, two officers saw 22-year-old Henry James placing an object into the speaker area of his vehicle at the Magnolia Discount Store on Carrollton Avenue. A search of the vehicle revealed the object to be a loaded .40-caliber Glock, and James was arrested on a charge of illegal possession of a firearm.

Around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, two officers patrolling in Hollygrove saw 17-year-old George Taylor riding a bicycle in a way that appeared unsafe, but when they stopped and tried to speak to him, Taylor dropped a black object on the ground and tried to escape. The officers caught up to him, and found the object he’d discarded to be a .38 revolver.

Previously, around 5 p.m. Sunday, following a fight between two groups of girls at the intersection of Dante and Willow streets, one of the groups was walking near the 8300 block of Jeanette when 17-year-old DeJuan Williams ran up to them and fired 14 shots into a 2002 Silver Ford Focus nearby. The witnesses were able to identify Williams and police arrested him on charges of aggravated criminal damage to property and illegal discharge of a firearm.

The gun used in that shooting was not found, however, leaving the Second District’s recent tally at two taken off the streets by officers, and two put back on the streets by citizens.

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