Chris Welty / Fox 8 / May. 22, 2024 

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – Shoplifting incidents across New Orleans have surged by 35% compared to last year, according to NOPD.

On Monday, a video posted on social media showed three women allegedly stealing armfuls of clothes from a store on N Peters in the French Quarter. One attempted to cover her face while holding a baby.

“They just ran with clothes and tags attached,” said Pablo Delahuerta who works in the French Quarter.

NOPD has several alleged shoplifting videos posted online. Two weeks ago, the department highlighted a man stealing six laundry detergent bottles at the Dollar General on Paris Avenue.

Rafael Goyeneche with the Metropolitan Crime Commission says it is challenging for NOPD to hold shoplifters accountable.

“Police are prioritizing felonies at the highest level,” Goyeneche said. “Going from violence being the highest priority to property.”

NOPD reported 722 shoplifting incidents in the year to date, compared to 533 in 2023. Goyeneche believes many offenders know the chances of being caught are slim.

“There’s too few police officers that can’t respond if they’re fortunate enough to be caught by the store,” Goyenche said.

Shoppers say thieves cost everyone more money.

“Even if it is a $5 shirt, now it’s $7,” said Nicole Valentine from Tampa, Florida.

“Yeah, they have insurance for property loss and stuff like that, but they’re taking a loss and they’re not going to take the full hit themselves,” said Jessica Delcastillo. “Therefore, they’re going to put it back out to the consumers.”

While Delcastillo believes shoplifters need to be held accountable, she notes many stores have policies preventing employees from going after thieves.

“Just like the police, everybody wants to go home to their family. So, if I were to approach someone, I don’t know if they have a gun, a knife or if they’re on something. Why am I going to jeopardize my life for a minimum wage job?”

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