NOPD Second District investigators dramatically increased the number of robberies they solved in 2012, and putting more robbers behind bars will be key to lowering the number of holdups that take place this year, the top-ranking officer in the Uptown-based district said Tuesday evening.
In his first monthly meeting with community members of the year, Commander Paul Noel said that only 23 percent of robberies were cleared in the district in 2011 — just shy of the national average of 26 percent. In 2012, Second District investigators cleared 33 percent of the armed robberies, Noel said, an increase that will be key to reducing robberies in the year to come.
The neighboring Sixth District also had a clearance rate of 33 percent for armed robberies in 2012, officials there have said.
When asked if the robbery arrests were resulting in convictions, Noel said it is too early to tell — most armed robbery arrests made in 2012 won’t be tried until 2013, he said. But an encouraging sign is that, over the past year, the district attorney’s office accepted 87 percent of the charges brought by Second District officers overall, said Lt. Shaun Ferguson of the NOPD investigative unit.
Reducing the number of robberies is one of four concrete goals Noel laid out for the year. He also aims to increase the number of drug cases — he said those numbers were “terrible” when he arrived in the Second District slightly less than a year ago, and are now starting to gather steam. Further, he said, making drug arrests will reduce the number of armed robberies as well.
Another priority, Noel said, is improving the “customer service” his officers provide — in other words, increasing the satisfaction that residents report after their interaction with officers on the street, which is measured in periodic surveys of the district. Finally, the fourth priority is for investigators to build a case against one of the district street gangs using state racketeering laws, Noel said.
To read our live coverage of Tuesday night’s community meeting with the Second District, see below: