Recent crime wave forcing travelers to reconsider plans ahead of Mardi Gras

The owner of a Mardi Gras bead store is concerned about how the president's newly imposed...
The owner of a Mardi Gras bead store is concerned about how the president's newly imposed tariffs on China will affect his business.(WAFB)
Published: Feb. 15, 2022 at 11:04 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - New Orleans and Mardi Gras are synonymous with one another, but that’s not enough to convince some people to travel to the Big Easy.

“New Orleans I’ve heard some horror stories from people firsthand telling me about people’s cars being broken into, just crime left and right. So, I don’t feel super safe down there. So, I’m going to stay in Baton Rouge where I feel more familiar with my surroundings,” said Courtney Tucker, a Baton Rouge resident.

Crime in New Orleans is on an uptick, and experts fear this is only the beginning.

“We’re struggling to keep this under control,” said Dr. Peter Scharf.

Dr. Peter Scharf is a criminologist at LSU.

He said he understands why people are hesitant to travel from Baton Rouge to New Orleans for Mardi Gras.

On top of a record number of shootings and killings in 2021, he said carjackings are a huge problem. NOPD has reported 66 so far in 2022.

“Carjackings are up 474% compared to 2019,” said Scharf.

However, Scharf said if you can consider the number of people that live and visit the city, the chances you could get hurt are slim.

“The chance of being the victim of an intentional shooting or an inadvertent accidental shooting is pretty small,” said Scharf.

Dr. Scharf said you should stay vigilant if you decide to travel, or choose to celebrate in the Capital Region.

He said no matter what you do, always have a plan.

“Should you go to Mardi Gras? Of course, come to Mardi Gras. Spend your money, but again, you have to be very vigilant about your surroundings,” said Scharf.

“Stay in groups. If you have to go to the bathroom, take somebody with you. Don’t carry large amounts of cash on you, don’t leave your car unlocked, or leave valuables in the car. Just basic things anytime you’re in a big city of some precautions you should take,” said Jennifer Bart, a Baton Rouge resident.

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