NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - New Orleans’ District 2 commander Jeff Walls says they’re seeing some success curbing juvenile crime by holding parents accountable. Leaders say it’s done on a case by case basis and only when parents are uncooperative. Yet, they say it’s one way they’re working to curb the surge of car break-ins in the second district.
Shattered glass from smashed car windows litter parts of Prytania Street.
“All in this neighborhood. I live a few blocks from here and I’m just walking around and I see those piles of glass,” said Uptown resident Daniel Sherman.
Sherman says break-ins in this area began about a month ago and have since become pervasive.
Police reported more than 35 vehicles burglarized just over a week ago in two Uptown neighborhoods.
“Everybody’s frustrated. We’re frustrated because we keep arresting the same individuals,” said NOPD Commander Jeff Walls.
Walls is the Second District commander. Though he believes more can be done to help keep repeat juvenile offenders off the streets, he says the public has helped to make a difference.
“The pressure they’ve been putting on judges, we’re seeing a change on punishment,” said Walls.
Walls says not all juveniles appear before a judge, making it tougher to provide consequences, even rehabilitation. Now, he says he’s getting parents involved.
“We’re going to the parents. We have with repeat offenders and asking those parents to sign their kids up for youth empowerment programs. Right now, it’s on a voluntary basis,” explained Walls.
Walls says each case is different, but if parents don’t cooperate, they could be charged or face fines of up to $500 or five months in jail.
“We’re charging them with this because they’re not going anything to correct the behavior or get kids back on the right path,” said Walls.
“With one particular parent, we’ve charged twice,” Walls said. “The first time he was out doing the same thing again. The second time, she reported to us when he was wanted so we’re starting to see some success with that on our part.”
FOX 8 spoke to residents who were mostly in favor of penalizing parents.
“It’s more of an emphasis put on the parent to be responsible for their child like they should be,” said Uptown property owner Andrea Prasse. “The children’s behavior is a reflection of the parent as well.”
Others argue there are a number of factors that should be considered. Some parents aren’t entirely to blame.
“The parents have to take some responsibility, but basically for not training properly. But, to some extent, you’re having kids having kids,” said father and New Orleans resident Anthony Dubuclete. “The parents just aren’t accepting responsibility because a lot of times they don’t know how to accept responsibilities because they were never taught.”
Commander Walls says the nationwide clearance rate for auto burglaries is 13 percent. He says in the second district, it’s 18 percent.