July 26, 2016

VaHi Safety Team Report Weeks 25, 26 and 27 (6/12/16 – 7/2/16)

News and Notes


Support for Atlanta Police Officers


I think we are all troubled by the recent violence we have seen against police officers; reports of excessive force in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis, and even Atlanta; and the mass shootings both here and abroad. We are reminded that the world can be a dangerous place, and that it is especially so for police officers and other first responders who run toward trouble.

Many in our neighborhood have expressed their appreciation for our APD Zone 6 personnel, and our FBAC Patrol (who are also all APD patrol officers and supervisors). Our own Atkin’s Park Neighborhood Association delivered cases of water, Gatorade, and protein bars to the precinct last week. Many of you also wrote personal message of thanks and appreciation, which I shared with APD and FBAC.

I heard from Major Peek both at the NPU meeting and in writing. He wanted me to thank you and to let you know that he shared these comments with his officer. He said, “I am sure that they will find some comfort in the kind words.  We are committed to serving with excellence.” Sgt. Clark wrote, “We certainly appreciate the support during these trying times.”

Please continue to keep these officers in your thoughts, and to give a wave and say thanks when you see them. It means more than you know.

VHCA and Neighborhood Watch Safety Projects

House Number Signs
We have recently completed an evaluation of visibility for house number signs in the neighborhood. Though the evaluation was not comprehensive, many streets participated. We found that a fairy high percentage of homes have visible numbers during the daytime – on the order of 75 to 80%. However, after dark, those numbers drop precipitously. On average less than 50% of homes have visible numbers and in some cases the percentage on a given street is less than 20%. In many of cases, the number would have been visible if the porch light was turned on. Please consider turning on your porch lights in the evening and leaving them on. It makes your home easier to find in an emergency, and in some cases casts enough light toward the street to make pedestrians safer as well. Additionally, there are bulbs with built in sensors that screw into your existing fixture and will automatically turn your light on at dusk and off at sunrise. There aren’t many safety initiatives around your home that are that simple!
Obscured Signs
A list of safety signs that are obscured by foliage (either overgrown shrubbery or low hanging tree limbs) is being compiled for submission to the city. It is our hope that having this foliage trimmed will make it easier for people to see stop signs, etc. and to react appropriately to protect others. If you are aware of a sign that needs attention, please snap a picture and send it along with a clear description of the location to safety@vahi.org.

Atlanta Police Department Good Works


From time to time Atlanta Police Department public affairs shares information about positive things that have happened in Atlanta and for the department. I have attached the latest version of APD Greatest Hits to this message. 

[we are unable to attach this document here - please email VaHiSafety@gmail.com if you would like to view this presentation]

Know Your License Plate Number


APD asks that everyone know your vehicle license plate number. There has been more than one car-jacking in Zone 2 recently where the owner's inability to provide the license plate caused a significant delay in putting out a BOLO and tracking the stolen vehicle. 

Stolen Mail – Piedmont Heights


Piedmont Heights neighborhood is seeing a rash of mail being stolen from mailboxes, presumably for identity theft purposes. Though we have had mail deliver issues, I have not heard recent complaints about theft of delivered mail. However, it never hurts to practice safety in this regard. Options include having items such as bills and bank statements delivered to your office, using online banking services so that no bills are delivered to your home, and dropping outgoing mail in a USPS box rather than leaving it in your own mailbox with the flag up.

District 6 Newsletter


The monthly newsletter from our city council representative, Alex Wan, is available on his website. You can find the July issue here.

Crime Statistics

The following information is taken from our APD Zone 6 report (http://atlantapd.org/Zone6.aspx).

It includes information from the Virginia-Highland Beat 601 reported incidents along with relevant reports from other nearby beats. Keep in mind that not all incidents are reported. A map showing the location of beats 601 – 612 within Zone 6 can be found at this link http://boundaries.atlantapd.org/Map-Zone6-Beats.aspx. This information is not shared to scare anyone, but to let you know what happens around us every day so you can be alert and aware.

Homicide None reported in Beat 601 and none in Zone 6.

Rape None reported in Beat 601 and none in Zone 6.

Pedestrian/Carjacking Robbery One reported in Beat 601 and twelve reported in Zone 6

On June 16th a resident made arrangements to purchase marijuana from someone he had purchased from in the past. He met the suspect and another man on St. Charles Place and entered their vehicle. After driving a short distance one suspect showed a gun and the other a knife and took the man’s wallet with $300 cash and ID. One of the suspects, a 29-year-old black male named Rashad Cooper, was arrested. The second suspect, a black male known only as Zeke, is still being sought.

Residential Robbery None reported in Beat 601 and none reported in Zone 6.

Commercial Robbery None reported in Beat 601 and one reported in Zone 6.

Aggravated Assault None reported in Beat 601 and sixteen reported in Zone 6.

Residential Burglary One reported in Beat 601 and thirty reported in Zone 6.

On June 12 a resident on Ponce De Leon Ave. reported $150 cash missing from his apartment. The victim suspects management or staff.

Commercial Burglary One reported in Beat 601 and eleven reported in Zone 6.

On June 13th the suspect is seen on video entering through a rear basement door at Genki Noodles and Shushi. He took a book bag that he found inside and filled it with liquor bottles and left. A suspect has been identified and is being sought.

Larceny From Vehicle Six reported in Beat 601 and eighty-four reported in Zone 6.

Vehicles were entered on Highland Lane (Carlton Condos), Highland Terrace, Los Angeles Ave, N. Highland Ave., Ponce de Leon Place, and Saint Charles Ave. Entry was made via unlocked doors and broken windows. Taken were cash, an Apple MacBook, Ipad Air, DVD Player, and book bag; athletic equipment including golf clubs; and a wallet, gym bag, and another laptop. Note that the incident on Los Angeles occurred when a Park Atlanta employee left the vehicle running and walked away.

Other Larcenies Five reported in Beat 601 and seventy-three reported in Zone 6.

On June 13th a bike was stolen from a front porch on St. Charles Ave. The bike and chain were both taken with no damage to the railing.

On June 22nd a bike was stolen from a bike rack on Ponce de Leon Ave. at Urban Body Studios. Both the bike and lock were missing.

On June 25th the suspect entered through the BeltLine entrance to Paris on Ponce and stole a bag, a Leica camera, and a set of keys. Video footage shows a black male with a low cut afro wearing a white t-shirt, light blue jeans, gray and white sneakers, and a camouflage hat. The suspect was carrying a backpack.

On June 27th at Hand and Hand and employee’s handbag with contents was stolen from an employee area.

On July 1st a bicycle was stolen from a porch on N. Highland Avenue. It was not secured.

Auto Theft One reported in Beat 601 and twenty-nine reported in Zone 6.

On June 30th a vehicle was stolen from Virginia Avenue. The car was a 1997 Green Infinity I30 and was taken from the street.

If this report was forwarded to you and you would like to be added to the distribution, please send a message to me at VaHiSafety@gmail.com with your name, email address, and street address for Virginia-Highland residents, or your affiliation for others. Thanks.

Stay Safe!

Kay Stephenson

July 3, 2016

VaHi Safety Team Report Weeks 23 and 24 (5/29/16 – 6/11/16)

News and Notes


CourtWatch Update


On Friday July 1st Judge McBurney sentenced several defendants who were involved in a string of carjackings, armed robberies, aggravated assaults, an attempted rape and other crimes in late October and early November. These crimes took place in Zones 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, and South Fulton County. All of the defendants are members of a gang known as Little Ni**** Getting Money (LNGM).

Nine members of the community were present in court and ten additional members sent written Community Impact Statements. The sentences for these defendants were as follows:

David Wilson – (18 years old at time of offenses) received fifty years in Prison, forty years in Prison without the possibility of Parole, and five years of probation after his prison sentence.

Arquavious Strickland (16 years old at time of offenses) received forty years in prison, thirty years without the possibility of parole and five years of probation after his prison sentence.

Jacory Smith (14 years old at time of offenses) twelve years in prison and eight years of probation after his prison sentence

Marquavious Conley (15 years old at the time of offenses) twelve years in prison and eight years of probation after his prison sentence.

Special thanks to ADA Love who prosecuted this case and represented the victims in court, and to Danielle Simpson, CourtWatch Coordinator. Danielle is instrumental in us having a voice in the criminal justice system.

Time to Update Video Registry


As many of you will recall, last year we initiated a video registry for those residents and businesses who have video cameras directed at public spaces like the street or parking lots. The purpose of this registry is to assist Atlanta PD Investigators in locating video that might be helpful in solving crime. Typically, investigators must walk up and down the street looking for cameras that might have helpful video footage. By supplying this information, they can simply call or email a resident and ask to look at the video.

If you have already registered your cameras, please let us know if there have been any changes in the past year. If you have cameras that have not been registered, please send me a message at VaHiSafety@gmail.com with the following information: Your name, street address and building and apartment number if applicable, phone number, email address, number of cameras facing the street and total number of cameras.

This program is at no charge, voluntary and open to any resident or business with the Beat 601 and VaHi boundaries (Amsterdam Avenue on the north, the BeltLine on the west, PDL Avenue on the south, and Briarcliff Road and/or the city limits on the east. Note that APD does not need to know about interior cameras for this project due to privacy concerns.  The police only need interior video if there is an incident inside your home.

This list is maintained by me and our FBAC Patrol officers, and Atlanta Police Zone 6 personnel are the only ones that have access to this information. Further, you can be assured it will not be used for any purpose other than for law enforcement. Being included on this list does not, in any way, obligate an owner to turn over surveillance video.  It simply lets investigators quickly identify where tape may be available to help with a case, and gives them the contact information to request assistance.  Please do participate even if you think your cameras do not provide sufficient resolution to identify a suspect.  Sometimes just being able to place a blurry figure at a certain place can help with the timeline of a crime.  This gives a lot of residents and businesses a chance to help APD (and the community) in a very positive way.

Door-to-door solicitation


Recently we have heard reports of a variety of scams involving door-to-door solicitors posing as representatives of alarm companies, natural gas providers, and other services. 

In the case of the alarm companies, the individual may suggest that he is at your home to upgrade the system as a way to gain entry to your home. In some cases, they will actually switch your service to another alarm system provider, in others they may just be looking to get inside your home and scope it out for a future robbery or worse. 

In the case of the natural gas providers, the individual may ask to see a bill to “make sure it is correct”. This is a way to gather information, get inside your home and either convince you to switch to a different provider, or again to scope out your home. 

The upshot of all this information is that you should never allow someone into your home that you have not previously scheduled or invited to be there. If the individual appears to have a legitimate reason to be at your home and has proper ID, still call the company first to verify. And let them wait outside while you make that call.

Safety & Transportation issues from Atlanta City Council District 6 Newsletter – July 2016


Street resurfacing will begin on Tuesday July 5th on 10th street from Piedmont Avenue to Monroe. Parking will not be permitted while work is ongoing, and delays can be expected. Plan travel accordingly.

Renew Atlanta has finalized a contract with the consultant who will lead the design effort for the Monroe Drive/Boulevard Complete Streets Project. Public input will be sought beginning in August and a meeting date, time and location will be announced. The goal is to improve safety and mobility for all modes of transportation. Questions can be directed to  RenewAtlanta@atlantaga.gov or by calling 404-330-6165.

Find the full newsletter here soon http://www.atlantadistrict6.com/district-6-news.html. This month’s issue includes Statement on Orlando, Final FY 2017 City of Atlanta Budget Approved, MARTA Sales Tax Referendum, 2016 Property Tax Assessments and more.

Mayor Reed Outlines Summer Public Safety Plan


The Atlanta Police Department issued a press release on Nextdoor outlining summer public safety plans. The full details can be found at the link.

Crime Statistics


The following information is taken from our APD Zone 6 report (http://atlantapd.org/Zone6.aspx).

It includes information from the Virginia-Highland Beat 601 reported incidents along with relevant reports from other nearby beats. Keep in mind that not all incidents are reported. A map showing the location of beats 601 – 612 within Zone 6 can be found at this link http://boundaries.atlantapd.org/Map-Zone6-Beats.aspx. This information is not shared to scare anyone, but to let you know what happens around us every day so you can be alert and aware.

Homicide None reported in Beat 601 and one reported in Zone 6.

Rape None reported in Beat 601 and none in Zone 6.

Pedestrian/Carjacking Robbery One reported in Beat 601 and one reported in Zone 6.

On June 11th the victim left Hand and Hand around 2:00 am and was walking on St. Charles when he was attacked from behind by two assailants. The suspects struck the victim causing him to fall to the ground then took the cash from his wallet and fled. The victim suffered bruises to his eye, knee, and arm.
.
Residential Robbery None reported in Beat 601 and one reported in Zone 6.

Commercial Robbery None reported in Beat 601 and one reported in Zone 6.

Aggravated Assault None reported in Beat 601 and eight reported in Zone 6.

Residential Burglary None reported in Beat 601 and twenty-seven reported in Zone 6.

Commercial Burglary None reported in Beat 601 and ten reported in Zone 6.

Larceny From Vehicle Three reported in Beat 601 and fifty-nine reported in Zone 6.

Vehicles were entered on Adair, Frederica, and Ponce de Leon Place. Entry was made via a broken window in one case and unlocked vehicles in the other two. Taken were a tote bag and Dell laptop, purse with wallet, ID, credit cards etc. and two iPhones. An arrest was made on Adair due to a prompt call from a resident who reported the individual looking into vehicles. The responding officer caught the suspect matching the resident’s description farther down the street inside of another vehicle. Kudos to the neighbor who made that call.

All around the zone five handguns were stolen from vehicles and residences during this two-week period. If you own or carry a firearm. Please take every precaution to secure the gun when you cannot carry it with you. Stashing a handgun under the seat or in a glove box or console will not prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. The same applies when a gun is left in the home. If your gun in stored in a night table or other place for easy access for protection and your home is burglarized while you are not there, these are the first place criminals (and children) will look. Please lock guns in a secure place when you are not at home.

Other Larcenies Four reported in Beat 601 and fifty-two reported in Zone 6.

On May 29th on Bonaventure Avenue items were taken from an apartment by a known former resident.

On May 30th on N. Highland Avenue a wallet and cash were taken from a table.

On June 3rd a bicycle was stolen from the front patio of a home on Frederica Street

On June 4th a bicycle was taken from a bike rack outside a residence on Virginia Ave.

All around the zone eleven bicycles were stolen in the two-week period. If at all possible, please store bicycles inside when not in use.

Auto Theft None reported in Beat 601 and twenty-one reported in Zone 6.

If this report was forwarded to you and you would like to be added to the distribution, please send a message to me at VaHiSafety@gmail.com with your name, email address, and affiliation. Thanks.

Stay Safe!

Kay Stephenson

June 14, 2016

VaHi Safety Team Report Weeks 21 and 22 (5/15/16 – 5/28/16)



News and Notes


Thefts from Restaurant Staff


As mentioned in the last report we have seen several incidents of a suspect walking in the back door of a restaurant and stealing personal belongings from staff lockers while they are in the front of the house working. The most recent incident occurred this morning at Genki. 

In the last report we suggested business owners might consider installing a bell or some other unobtrusive alert mechanism to serve as a deterrent and so that staff nearby will know someone has entered from outside. 

I also can’t stress enough that each and every incident needs to be called in to 911. I know everyone in a restaurant is busy at the hours this guy is striking, but it does appear to be one individual and a coordinated effort by Atlanta PD looking at all of these cases (unconfirmed reports on Nextdoor from Genki, Hand and Hand, Limerick Junction, Harry & Sons, Murphy’s and others), could result in an arrest.

Video Cameras for Virginia-Highland - Update


As we mentioned here in a February report, the VHCA Safety Committee has been working since December, 2015 with the Atlanta Police Foundation and Atlanta PD to identify locations and funding to install additional video cameras around the neighborhood. If you missed the earlier report you can find it here.

Atlanta PD has now identified the prioritized list of locations for different types of devices (find map here), and several meetings and discussions have taken place with the Atlanta Police Foundation to understand the options, how cameras work, what is done with the data, etc. Funds for three cameras have been verified through Alex Wan’s office (with VHCA matching those funds) to purchase three cameras. Options for additional fund-raising from businesses and residents to fund more cameras has also been discussed. Each camera costs between $13,000 and $15,000 depending on functionality.

Based on the meeting last evening (June 13th), it is expected that a vote can take place by the board to fund these cameras at the next scheduled meeting on July 11th. If the addition of video cameras is important to you, please take a moment to contact your VHCA board members and urge them to move forward as quickly as possible. Board members and their contact information can be found here

When you do contact them, I urge you to remember that VHCA board members are all volunteers and most work full time and have family commitments as well, so be patient if you are requesting a response. You can also express your interest by attending the next VHCA meeting.

Fulton County Sheriff Run-Off Election July 26th


As you know there will be a run-off election for the democratic candidate for Fulton County Sheriff. This election will be held on July 26th and early voting has already commenced. The run-off will be between the current sheriff, Ted Jackson, and Richard Lankford, who held the office prior to Sheriff Jackson’s election in 2008. A few things to know before you vote:

Under Richard Lankford the Fulton County Jail was under a Federal Consent Decree due to unsafe and inhumane conditions including jail cells that did not lock and extreme overcrowding (three to a cell with inmates sleeping on mattresses on the floor for example). The consent decree has been lifted under Sheriff Jackson, new locks have been installed, and the over-crowding problems have been dramatically reduced.

Under Sheriff Jackson the department has regained accreditation under CALEA (Committee on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies) which had been lost under the management of Richard Lankford.

Sheriff Jackson has established a Youth Intervention Program (YIP) which has served 850 students to date and was featured on A&E television. He also has established a Citizen’s Academy to build stronger relations with the community.

Sheriff Ted Jackson negotiated a new inmate food contract which has saved taxpayers $700K to date.

John Wolfinger, I, and others in the neighborhood have had the opportunity to participate in the Citizen’s Academy. I saw firsthand the improvements at the Fulton County Superior Court which would not have allowed the Brian Nichols shooting and escape had they been in place in 2005. I also interacted with many sheriff’s deputies who have pride in their organization and love going to work every day.

Given our experiences, John Wolfinger and I will be voting for Sheriff Jackson. However, I urge you to do your homework and make your own decision. My only plea to you is that you take the ten minutes to go out and vote on July 26th. Run-off elections traditionally have an absurdly low turn-out, and it would be a tragedy if only a handful of people were allowed to make this decision.

Police in the Park


Police in the Park is back! The Atlanta Police Department is hosting the first 2016 Police in the Park event on Friday, July 8 on the Atlanta BeltLine from 5-8 pm. Join the Path Force Unit and other officers for a fun day at the skate park. The Department has partnered with several local agencies and will offer bicycle safety information and exciting giveaways. Find more information here.

Atlanta Police Explorers Program for Youth and Young Adults


The Atlanta Police Explorers Program is accepting applications. The program is designed to train young adults from the ages 14-21 to become futures leaders.

Activities include: 
• Patrol “ride-along” 
• Community Service 
• Tactical training 
• Crime scene investigations 
• Report writing 

Explorer Requirements are: 
1. Be a United States Citizen. 
2. Be between the ages of 14-21(Must have completed the 8th grade) 
3. Passing school classes & maintaining a GPA of 2.5 or higher. 
4. The ability to pass a Background Investigation. 
5. Have no criminal arrests or detainment. 

To apply or for more information, please contact Lt. Clay at ABClay@atlantaga.gov

Upcoming Meetings:


Virginia-Highland Civic Association (VHCA) – July 11, 2016 at 7:00 pm at Ponce Branch Fulton Co. Public Library

Neighborhood Planning Unit (NPU) F – June 20, 2016 at 7:00 pm at Hillside

Crime Statistics


The following information is taken from our APD Zone 6 report (http://atlantapd.org/Zone6.aspx).
It includes information from the Virginia-Highland Beat 601 reported incidents along with relevant reports from other nearby beats. Keep in mind that not all incidents are reported. A map showing the location of beats 601 – 612 within Zone 6 can be found at this link

This information is not shared to scare anyone, but to let you know what happens around us every day so you can be alert and aware.

Homicide None in beat 601 and none in Zone 6.

Rape None in beat 601 and none in Zone 6.

Pedestrian/Carjacking Robbery One in beat 601 and twelve in Zone 6.

On May 21, 2016 at approximately 11:46 pm Officer C. Wade responded to 680 Greenwood Ave in reference to a carjacking that occurred at the location. The victim advised that he was getting into his vehicle when two black males approached him with semi-automatic handguns. The males ordered him and his friend to surrender their belongings and keys to the vehicle. He indicated that the vehicle was already running, so he did not turn over his key to the suspects. The suspects got inside the vehicle and left the location.

Both males appeared to be 18-20 years old and were wearing jeans. One suspect possibly had short dreads. The suspects had handguns with one being a dull gray color. The victims were not able to see what type of shirt or shoes either suspect was wearing. One of the victims stated that his cell phone was located in the driver's side door pocket. By tracking the victim’s phone, it was discovered that the cell phone was still turned on and was emitting a signal from the Mt. Zion and Macon Dr. area. Units from Zone 3 and the Zone 6 FIT team responded to the area of Mt. Zion and Macon Dr in an attempt to locate the stolen vehicle.

After several minutes, the Zone 6 FIT team located the vehicle at 50 Mt. Zion Rd which was The Woods at Glenrose apartment complex. The Zone 6 FIT team waited to see if anyone would return to the vehicle but nobody did. Officers then moved in and secured the vehicle. The vehicle was processed by City of Atlanta Police ID techs and latent prints were found. Officer Wade transported the victim to Zone 3 and allowed him to retrieve his vehicle. The vehicle and all property inside was released to Victim 1 and his friend Victim 2. The incident took place in the "Owner 10" parking spot at the address, however there were no cameras in the area where the incident took place.

Residential Robbery None in beat 601 and none in Zone 6.

Commercial Robbery None in beat 601 and two in Zone 6.

Aggravated Assault None in beat 601 and five in Zone 6.

Residential Burglary None in beat 601 and twenty-four in Zone 6.

Commercial Burglary None in beat 601 and ten in Zone 6.

Larceny From Vehicle Five in beat 601 and sixty-either in Zone 6.

Vehicles were entered on Bonaventure Avenue, Maiden Lane (3), and Ponce de Leon Avenue. Entry was made via a damaged door lock, and broken windows. Victims lost a gym bag with clothing, two watches, and cash, a backpack with clothes, an Apple MacBook and tow book bags, a Lenovo ThinkPad, backpack with Microsoft Surface, and an antique rifle.

Other Larcenies Five in beat 601 and fifty-three in Zone 6.

On May 15th at Surin on N. Highland Avenue a man entered from the back door and stole a purse with wallet, car keys, ID and credit cards from an employee locker. The suspect is approximately 5’ 7, black male in late 30’s. At the time he was wearing a red t-shirt, a red ball cap, and dark colored jeans.

On May 16th a Diamondback Insight 2 bicycle was stolen from the apartment complex bike rack at 609 Virginia Avenue. The bike was secured with a cable lock which was cut.

On May 16th at Friends Neighborhood Bar on Ponce de Leon Avenue three security cameras were stolen.

On May 24th the theft of jewelry was reported stolen when the resident returned from vacation to her home on Saint Charles Avenue. Suspects are known to the resident.

On May 26th a snatch theft occurred on the sidewalk near Hand and Hand on N. Highland Avenue. The suspect grabbed a woman’s clutch purse and ran. When she gave pursuit, the suspect dropped the bag in a trash can and ran on. The suspect is an average sized black male with a lanky build, black shirt, black pants, blue Nikes with white bottoms.

Auto Theft One in beat 601 and nineteen in Zone 6.

On May 16th a vehicle parked on the street in the 900 block of Greenwood Avenue was stolen. The car is a white 2005 Honda Accord with GA tag BTF3280.

If this report was forwarded to you and you would like to be added to the distribution, please send a message to me at VaHiSafety@gmail.com with your name, email address, and affiliation. 
Thanks.

Stay Safe!

Kay Stephenson
Attachments area