‘Constant’ car break-ins during Saints, Pelicans games have NFL, NBA on notice

A photo provided to Fox 8 shows multiple car windows smashed in the parking lot near Julia and...
A photo provided to Fox 8 shows multiple car windows smashed in the parking lot near Julia and Loyola/Rampart during the Pelicans-Rockets game on Jan. 4.(WVUE)
Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 1:14 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The New Orleans Saints and Pelicans organizations are raising concerns about the “constant” car break-ins in parking lots around the Caesar’s Superdome and the Smoothie King Center during sporting events.

A spokesman for the teams, Greg Bensel, says the organizations are “very concerned” and have spoken with tourism officials, Sugar Bowl organizers, and the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation about the rampant car burglaries.

Bensel’s statement comes the morning after a number of cars were broken into during the Pelicans’ 119-108 win over the Houston Rockets Wednesday (Jan. 4) night.

“We have reached out to the mayor’s office and the NOPD,” Bensel said. “We are now on the radar of the NFL and NBA because of this.”

The Pelicans’ success this season and the potential for post-season play has the NBA on notice.

New Orleans is expected to host the Super Bowl in 2025.

In a press conference Thursday, NOPD Interim Superintendent Michelle Woodfork reassured the teams that her department is capable of handling major events.

Woodfork said the NOPD has had conversations with both organizations and that officers will be redeployed from the First and Eighth Districts to increase patrols in and around lots near the Superdome. She said because some of those lots are privately owned, NOPD cannot man the lots themselves.

“I think there is going to be a couple more units manning those areas to make sure we’re looking for those who are not supposed to be in those areas or not attending events in those areas,” Woodfork said. “Making sure cars are not being broken into in and around the Superdome and the Smoothie King Center.”

Woodfork said the new deployment strategies will be in place for all future major events.

The new year has arrived, but with it came the same heavy dose of violent crime in New Orleans.

Only four hours after the start of 2023, New Orleans police were investigating the first homicide of the year, a fatal shooting in the 1600 block of Clio Street in Central City.

The violence didn’t stop there. Police investigated another four stabbings, three robberies, and three separate shootings on Jan. 1.

The city’s second mass shooting in eight days sent four men to the hospital on Jan. 3.

A man was found dead from apparent blunt force trauma behind an abandoned car wash in Mid City on Jan. 4.

And the NOPD said a teenaged juvenile arrived at the hospital just after 2 a.m. on Jan. 5 suffering from a gunshot wound where he later died.

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