With Mardi Gras quickly approaching, crime is being discussed as a serious issue once again. Here’s what parade goers and party animals should know about crime in New Orleans and how to remain safe during the celebration.

The city of New Orleans remains one of the hotspots for crime in the United States. Many crime categories are up from their 2021 percentage total, such as homicides, fatal and non-fatal shootings, carjackings and armed robberies.

According to the Metropolitan Crime Commission (MCC), homicide rates in New Orleans skyrocketed in 2022, maintaining the city’s title of murder capital of the U.S. The city’s homicide rate grew 44% from 2021.

New Orleans has also seen an identical increase in armed robberies at 44%, according to the MCC. While nonfatal shootings have gone down, the city has also experienced a 41% increase in fatal shootings and a 10% increase in carjacking since last year.

The MCC also listed that 397 armed robberies, 343 shootings, 218 carjackings and 209 homicides have occurred in 2022.

Among the students spoken to, none seem all too interested in traveling to New Orleans for any upcoming Mardi Gras festivities. Many will either be staying local for parades in cities like Scott, Church Point, Youngsville and Carencro or briefly going home to spend time with family and loved ones.

In New Orleans on Saturday, Jan. 28, the sidewalks of Bourbon Street were jam-packed from about noon to late in the night. Preparations for Mardi Gras were barely beginning to surface at the time.

Bourbon Street, as well as other popular New Orleans locations, can present the biggest dangers for those celebrating in the city. Crimes can often occur in large crowds of people, especially when the population is sporting flashy outfits and consuming ounces and ounces of alcohol.

If you should venture onto Bourbon Street at any point over the next week, some simple safety precautions you could take include always keeping a hand on your belongings, leaving important personal items in your or a friend’s vehicle, sticking close to your group and maintaining awareness of your surroundings.

When leaving personal belongings inside a vehicle, it’s best to not leave them where they are easily visible. If a vehicle has a center console and a glove compartment that can be locked, it’s best to keep those items in there. Otherwise, leaving items in pockets behind the seats, under seats and under floor mats are reasonable safe spots.

One should take extra caution if they own a Kia or a Hyundai, as car thefts among those manufacturers have skyrocketed recently all over the country. According to Missy Wilkinson and Jeff Adelson of the New Orleans Advocate, several Kias and Hyundais made between 2010 and 2021 are being stolen due to a TikTok trend showing how to unlock these vehicles using just a USB cable or a screwdriver.

Get the attention of on-scene police officers or call 911 if your vehicle has been broken into or stolen.

When walking the streets away from the bigger crowds, it’s best to not walk in areas where you are all alone. While being in a massive crowd can be dangerous, it’s also important that you have a few eye witnesses around you should anything happen.

It is also ideal not to accept any beverage or substance offered to you by a stranger. You can never be sure of the contents of the drink or substance as it can leave you or someone else in a vulnerable state.

Call 911 if you see or hear any suspicious or harmful activity going on or let the police on scene handle the situation. If you suspect that a crime is about to occur or already occurring and you’ve done everything you can to help, it’s best to leave the scene as soon as possible.

Leaving a certain location or going home is a much better option than potentially being a victim of a crime or, worst case scenario, death.