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Are Uptown's Recent Armed Restaurant Robberies a Sign Crime Is Getting Worse in NOLA?

According to the New York Times, New Orleanians believe "it's getting worse."

Surveillance footage of the armed robbery at Patois.
Surveillance footage of the armed robbery at Patois.
NOPD/AP

The New York Times published an article this weekend about New Orleans recent rash of Uptown restaurant and bar armed robberies.  Since late August, staff and diners at PatoisAtchafalaya and Monkey Hill Bar have all been robbed at gun point during business hours—all of the robberies happening between 9:30 and 10:30 p.m.

The Times reports that most New Orleanians are now sharing the sentiment that in terms of crime, "it's getting worse," which seems to be true: There were more robberies in 2014 than during any year since Katrina, though still a much lower rate than in the 1990s. There's also the fact that the police force is the smallest its been in "four decades" (reportedly due to an $80 million budget deficit when Landrieu took office), a "staffing shortage that will take years to remedy." Many are quick to point out that such violent crime has been persistent in "less favored" New Orleans neighborhoods for years.

Meanwhile, restaurants haven't reported seeing "a dip in business" yet, and many are taking measures into their own hands— Clancy's has added a guard and Meauxbar/Sylvain owner Robert LeBlanc tells the paper that he knows "people talking about bringing assault rifles into their restaurants, and I know other people talking about getting out of the business."

The NOPD has not concluded these robberies are even linked to each other, and all three remain unsolved, though the feds recently stepped in to help the investigation along and there is now a $30,000 Crimestoppers reward.

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