Gardere residents afraid to speak out about crime

Monday, September 26, 2011 - 5:44pm

There’s been a spike in crime in the Gardere area. Three shootings in just week have set residents on edge. This morning, gunshots rang out on Jasper Avenue around 10am. Investigators with the East Baton Rouge sheriff’s office say no one was hit.

Less than 24 hours before that, and right around the corner, two people were sent to the hospital after being shot near the BREC Park on Elvin Drive.

Last Tuesday morning, 27-year-old Frederick Rady shot and killed a man outside his home and injured another.

Residents living in the Gardere area say it’s been awhile since they’ve seen this much crime in such a short amount of time. Some of those people say they’re scared for their safety, and they’re afraid to talk about it, even to the police.

One woman was so concerned for her safety that she wanted her identity to remain unknown. She lives near the Elvin Drive Park. She says she was inside her home when the gunshots went off. “I heard ‘pop,pop,pop!’ and I was like ‘what’s that?’” she says. “I expect it on the other side of Gardere, but not here.”

Now, her neighborhood is a ghost town. “You can see nobody’s outside,” she says. “Normally there are people out.”

Rumors have been circulating about what really happened in the park, but no one is talking. “I really don’t know anything about it,” she says. “There’s people that know what happened. There were people out and about, but they’re not going to say anything.”

As she scans her neighborhood for people who might see her face, she tells us there’s a reason why she wants to stay hidden from the camera, and from investigators. “People don’t like you talking,” she says. “They had people passing around here telling us ‘Y’all don’t know anything. Don’t say anything.’”

She’s scared that if she says the wrong thing, someone might try to retaliate. “You just have to go with the flow if you want to live peacefully,” she explains. “I don’t want somebody to come and shoot up my house.”

NBC33 caught up with a number of people living in the Gardere area who did not want to be on camera because they were afraid. Many are so scared in fact, that they told us they’d like to leave the neighborhood to find a safer place to live.

“I’m sorry I moved here,” the woman tells us. “I really thought this was a nice area.”

However, getting out is tougher than it seems. “It’s not easy at all,” she says. “If we were renting, it would be one thing, but we’re buying.”

So, for now, she’ll stay inside her home, keeping quiet and hoping trouble won’t find her. “It’s frustrating, but what can you do? You can’t do anything. You can’t do anything about it.”

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