Right now, the trouble seems to be limited to the drug trade and minor skirmishes related to it, neighbors told the Sixth District police at their monthly meeting of community members. But it’s the same type of activity that has always led to shootings in the past, and they are worried that that another burst of violence could be on the way, they said.
In late November, two men were wounded in a shooting at the corner, and residents said at the time that they were worried that newcomers to the neighborhood were stirring up the trouble. Now, the neighbors told police, those same newcomers seem to be squatting in abandoned buildings nearby.
Part of the monthly meeting included a review of “heat maps” that show locations that have reported violent crime, and the Washington and Annunciation corner was not highlighted on it. Neighbors did not dispute the map — the criminal activity has been just under the radar, they said.
“It’s not showing up on the maps because it’s the kind of stuff you have to go out there and get,” said Adolph Lopez, a member of the Irish Channel Neighborhood Association.
Many neighbors believe that the loitering and street crime in the intersection seems drawn to Nick’s store on the corner, and they have been trying to enlist either the business owner or property owner to help. City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell attended last week’s meeting of the Irish Channel Neighborhood Association, they noted, and she has agreed to use her office find a solution as well.
After the November shooting, the Sixth District immediately sent in a task force that made several drug arrests. In the two months since then, several criminals well known for frequenting the area have been arrested in unrelated cases, said Lt. Frank Young, and police also made a drug case based directly on information from residents in the same area.
Based on their reports, there must be some new dealing already taking place in the area again, Young said.
“Whenever there’s drug traffic, there’s going to be disturbances, whether it’s over money, quantity or quality,” Young said. “So we’re going to try to attack the drug angle again.”
Thursday night’s meeting also included a detailed review of crime statistics in the Sixth District. To read our live coverage of the meeting, see below.