After successfully rebuilding Andrew Wilson Charter School and Rosa Keller library, the Broadmoor Improvement Association has been striving toward the commercial revitalization of the Washington and Broad intersection as its next major effort. Three recent murders in the 4100 block of Washington in two years are therefore unacceptable, said association president Kelli Wright on Monday evening to a crowd of about 60 people.
Wright met with the leadership of the NOPD Second District on Monday afternoon, and they plan to engage the business owners directly about the loitering problem in the area, she said. Some businesses are planning to install surveillance cameras nearby to deter illegal activity, while other businesses are being investigated to determine whether they are facilitating it, Wright said.
“Are they terrified? Do they need our help?” Wright asked. “Or are they silently complicit in what’s going on?”
Residents said that the lack of light on some blocks, the crowds of people gathering during the day and night, and the blighted houses that attract vagrants are all part of the problem, making it feel unsafe to go out at night.
City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, whose longtime leadership of the association propelled her run for office last year, said that the shooting and the loitering often take place at the same locations, so her office has been looking into solutions. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, has ruled that anti-loitering laws are generally too vague to justify restricting the rights of citizens to go where they want in public, and are thus unconstitutional.Broadmoor residents protested that in other cities, the police can tell crowds of aimlessly gathered people to disperse, and Cantrell said her staffers are continuing to look into ways to accomplish that legally.
“We’re trying to figure out how we can get enforcement where loitering is occurring and crime is happening,” Cantrell says.
Cantrell also noted that she plans to award a Harrah’s grant through her office to an effort to install ProjectNOLA anti-crime cameras in the intersection. Earlier Monday, police released surveillance images of a “person of interest” they would like to question about the shooting — anyone with information should call CrimeStoppers at 822-1111.
To read our live coverage of Monday’s meeting, see below.