Car break-ins leave Uptown resident fed up

Tess Rowland

Glass+from+the+smashed+driver%27s+side+door+of+Dustin+Walker%27s+car+lays+scattered+across+the+inside+of+the+car.This+was+the+third+time+Walker%27s+car+was+broken+into+in+Uptown+New+Orleans.
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Car break-ins leave Uptown resident fed up

Glass from the smashed driver's side door of Dustin Walker's car lays scattered across the inside of the car.This was the third time Walker's car was broken into in Uptown New Orleans.

Glass from the smashed driver's side door of Dustin Walker's car lays scattered across the inside of the car.This was the third time Walker's car was broken into in Uptown New Orleans.

Courtesy of Dustin Walker

Glass from the smashed driver's side door of Dustin Walker's car lays scattered across the inside of the car.This was the third time Walker's car was broken into in Uptown New Orleans.

Courtesy of Dustin Walker

Courtesy of Dustin Walker

Glass from the smashed driver's side door of Dustin Walker's car lays scattered across the inside of the car.This was the third time Walker's car was broken into in Uptown New Orleans.

Tess Rowland

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For Dustin Walker, parking directly in front of his home in Uptown New Orleans comes with a huge amount of risk in the form of car break-ins.

In the past month, the windows on his brand new Toyota Tacoma truck needed to be replaced three times. 

The first incident occurred on Jan. 6 around midnight. Walker awoke to a call from a neighbor who notified him that his truck had been smashed in. The car parked directly across from him was hit too. Walker reported the incident to NOPD who proceeded to file a report and check for fingerprints on the glass. 

“It had that new truck feeling to me. Now, after the incidents, you can see all the scratches and feel where the leather has been cut,” Walker said. 

The next day, he had his windows replaced. 

Walker’s car break-ins were not limited to his neighborhood. Even when he was in a different area of the city, the break-ins persisted. 

Three days later, Walker parked near the Pan American Stadium for a softball game. Once he returned to his car, he realized his windows were smashed in. As many as ten other vehicles in the parking lot had also been damaged. 

Walker found himself paying to replace windows that had been fixed just two days earlier. 

“That’s your vehicle, you work hard to pay for it,” he said. 

For Walker, the saying ‘third time’s the charm’ became a reality when his vehicle got hit once more in front of his home. His ring alarm caught this incident on camera. 

“It’s so disheartening, I didn’t think this would happen again,” said Walker. 

He said he feels violated knowing that someone has gone through his belongings multiple times, and he’s lost sleep over the incidents. Walker finds himself waking up whenever he hears loud noises. 

In the past month, Walker has spent nearly $1,000 on glass. 

According to a report by City Council Analyst Jeff Asher, in 2019, New Orleans saw 5,900 total car break-ins with only 9% leading to arrest. Of those 570 arrested, 47% were juveniles. 

Many of these criminals are looking for items that are easy to resell, like handguns, according to NOPD. They also told Walker that the model of his vehicle might make him an easy target, as truck owners are often stereotyped to own guns. 

City Councilman Jay H. Banks has even become a victim of break-ins. Both his city and personal vehicles had their windows smashed in this past year. 

“It went from being a nuisance to an epidemic,” said Banks. 

And while Banks does not have an easy fix solution, he said he would vote in favor of making harsher sentences for these crimes. 

“We’ve got to send a message that deviant behavior like this is not acceptable,” said Banks. 

Walker said he is not angered at NOPD and that they are doing what they can to tackle the issue. Since he’s filed police reports for the break-ins, he’s seen an increased police presence in his neighborhood since the break-ins. 

Walker does not want to the city, but he has been exploring new places to live with gated parking. He even has been encouraged by friends to leave the doors to his truck unlocked with the battery removed, to ensure that his windows aren’t smashed a fourth time and the car isn’t stolen. 

“I have been here for three years and never had any incidents, but at this point, I don’t want to pay to replace $1,000 of glass in a little over a week,” said Walker.