NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – A French Quarter bar is using high-tech measures to protect the neighborhood from the city’s rising crime. This week, NOPD helped identify and apprehend a suspect within an hour.
“I think we have a big responsibility to take care of our environment, so we do what we can,” said Tim Blake, owner of the three-legged dog.
The Three-Legged Dog has been open on the busy corner of Conti and Burgundy for decades, open 24 hours a day, so safety is a priority for Blake.
“We have a driver’s license reader that we use to scan everyone to make sure they’re legit, and obviously we want to take care of characters who don’t like to have their IDs,” Blake said.
Blake said they keep track of the bad actors they’ve stopped, and that’s what an NOPD officer was able to refer to after identifying the suspect in a nearby shooting Sunday morning in Charters. The officer knew that the suspect was hanging around a three-legged dog.
The suspect, who police have identified as 67-year-old Leonard Landry, was on the bar’s database of banned customers, but that’s not where the help stops.
“You can give ProjectNOLA a picture and it only takes a few seconds, they can run that through their quarter-sized facial recognition program,” Blake said. “They can come up with a name very quickly and then they can’t give us the name because that’s not allowed, so what we do is we contact the police.”
The NOPD says at no time did they request or use facial recognition technology to look up his name and video to investigative sources.
That technology is coming to the city soon, but Blake said it’s been helpful since its inception as Project Nola’s host of free crime cameras. The network is not connected to any outside agencies, not even the NOPD has direct access.
Blake is even testing a special heat-sensing camera in the bar.
“It will highlight knives, weapons, shotguns, whatever you’re trying to hide, and then after facial recognition, we’ll see who you are,” Blake said.
According to city data, crimes have increased by 43 percent from last year and the crew in the Three-Legged Dog are bracing themselves for even some situations.
In this case, general manager Todd Lively saw Landry leaving for the day and helped the police catch them all within an hour of finding out who he was.
“I think we can all agree that there are problems in the city, and if you all try to do what you can on your street corner, maybe there will be improvements,” Blake said.
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