The post-Katrina Louisiana coast area is suffering from opportunistic – even organized – thievery of everything from construction tools to carved mantelpieces of damaged homes, says the Christian Science Monitor. m”We’re still in early recovery, and this type of post- looting has become a real problem,” says criminologist William Thornton of Loyola University in New Orleans, who noted that many looters drive in from out of state. “All our small law-enforcement agencies are spread thin and really hurting because their tax base is no longer in existence.”
The overall crime rate along the Louisiana-Mississippi border has doubled in recent months even as violent crime has dropped 80 percent since the storm, according to the New Orleans Police Department. Police and area residents throughout the region are taking some unusual steps to prevent looting. In Louisiana’s St. Bernard Parish, the sheriff proposed hiring 100 private security guards from DynCorp, the same company that provides security in Iraq, to work alongside deputies. Elsewhere, returning residents have marshalled neighborhood forces to look out for looters. Some have spray-painted warnings such as “Looters will be drawn and quartered” on the sides of garages and stranded boats.