Loyola students worry for their safety and their cars as carjackings reach an all time high


Violet Bucaro

A car’s side window stands broken. This is one of many cars in the city that have been broken into in recent trends.

Macie Batson, Editor in Chief

Carjackings and break-ins have reached an all-time high in New Orleans, with over 400 vehicles stolen in just over three weeks into the new year.

These crimes are happening all across the city, including the uptown area, leaving Loyola students to question if they are safe from the crimes that are taking place so close to campus.

Vocal performance junior Kieva Banks said that while she has not had her car stolen or broken into, several of her friends have, and makes it a point to be hyper aware of her surroundings.

“I’m very cautious and always looking over my shoulder to make sure that no one is following me,” Banks said. “I have to quickly throw my stuff in my car so I can hop in and lock it, since that would be me at my most vulnerable with my back turned.”

Banks said that despite having emergency apps and tasers, she still feels anxious when walking back to her car.

“As a woman who commutes back and forth across the river everyday and has late school hours some days, it is very scary and I always feel on edge when I’m walking to my car, even just outside the building,” Banks said.

According to Loyola Deputy Chief of Police Daniel Spangler, the Loyola University Police Department works with university facilities to ensure campus lighting is operational for better visibility at night. He also said that officers monitor the campus and nearby streets on foot as well as in vehicles – both marked and unmarked.

Spangler said that while there has been a recent increase in carjackings throughout the city, Loyola’s campuses have not been targeted, and the last car break-in incident occurred five or six years ago in the West Road Garage during a holiday break, when someone smashed windows out of several cars and fled the area.

However, Spangler noted that Tulane and the New Orleans Police have recently worked on several similar crimes in the neighborhood between Broadway and Carrollton around Cohn Street.

“Typically, these are crimes of opportunity. Someone sees a vehicle in a particular area and decides to break into it,” Spangler said. “Naturally, if someone wants to break into multiple vehicles at one time they will go where there are more potential targets like a parking garage.”

Neuroscience Psychology sophomore Elizabeth MacKenzie said that she feels safe on campus during the day, but at night, particularly around West Road Garage, she feels unsafe.

“There’s almost no security, the lighting isn’t the best, and also it’s accessible from St. Charles, which is a major street and anyone can access it,” MacKenzie said.

Spangler said that vehicles are being burglarized throughout the city, from quiet neighborhood streets to parking garages in the business district. But he said that Loyola’s community members are active around the clock, making it more difficult for criminals to predict a safe time to commit break ins.

“Hopefully, the Loyola community will not fall victim to these crimes,” Spangler said. “Our garages are lit at night, there is typically a lot of foot traffic in our garages and campus in general, and our officers patrol garages both on foot and in vehicles.”

Spangler suggested that some methods to keep safe on and around campus include being aware of your surroundings, parking in well-lit places, locking your car doors, and avoiding leaving anything of value or worth stealing in your vehicle.

“If you see something suspicious or out of the ordinary, call LUPD. And please call as soon as it is safe to do so. If you call an hour later, whatever you saw probably will no longer be there,” Spangler said. “If you do not feel comfortable going to your vehicle alone, call LUPD and request an officer escort you to your vehicle.”