August 17, 2016

A Safety Note from Jim Jim Hardy: Protecting Your Mail

Jim Hardy, NPU F Public Safety Coordinator
Several of our neighbors have been the victims of mail and package theft in recent months.  The U.S. Postal Inspection Service which investigates mail theft provides the below advice for protecting your mail:


  • Use the letter slots inside your Post Office for your mail, or hand it to a letter carrier.
  • Pick up your mail promptly after delivery. Don’t leave it in your mailbox overnight. If you're expecting checks, credit cards, or other negotiable items, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to pick up your mail.
  • If you don't receive a check or other valuable mail you're expecting, contact the issuing agency immediately.
  • If you change your address, immediately notify your Post Office and anyone with whom you do business via the mail.
  • Don’t send cash in the mail.
  • Tell your Post Office when you’ll be out of town, so they can hold your mail until you return.
  • Report all suspected mail theft to the local police and to the Postal Inspection Service. 
  • Start or join a neighborhood watch and/or security patrol program. By exchanging work and vacation schedules with trusted friends and neighbors, you can watch each other's mailboxes (as well as homes).
  • Consult with your local Postmaster for the most up-to-date regulations on mailboxes, including the availability of locked centralized or curbside mailboxes.
If you see a mail thief at work, or if you believe your mail was stolen, call police immediately, then call Postal Inspectors at 877-876-2455 (press 3). You can also file a mail theft report online at https://postalinspectors.uspis.govClick on  “Mail Theft” and enter all applicable information.  The more you provide, the more likely it is that they can help you.


Editor's note: We've had a number of mail and package thefts reported on Nextdoor recently.  Most have been reported to police, but few, if any, have been reported to US Postal Inspection Service which has primary investigative and prosecutive jurisdiction for mail theft.

August 11, 2016

VaHi Safety Team Report Weeks 28 and 29 (7/3/16 – 7/16/16)

News and Notes

A Thank You Message from Major Peek


Major Timothy D. Peek
2025 Hosea L. Williams Drive SE
Atlanta, GA 30317
Friday, August 05, 2016

Dear Zone Six Communities:

In recent times, our nation has experienced some very trying times as it relates to the relationships between law enforcement agencies and the communities for which they serve.  Communities throughout the country voiced their concerns through many different avenues which included protests and demonstrations.  The City of Atlanta was not exempt from these experiences.  Although stressful, the officers of the Atlanta Police Department rose to the occasion and served all of our citizens with dignity and respect.  We took an oath to serve our citizens and we look forward to our continued and   committed service.

During these stressful times, you (our citizens and business partners) supported our officers in many ways.  In expressions of your support, we thank you for all of the gifts that you shared with us.  We thank you for the gratitude shown through gifts of food, snacks, drinks, flowers, handshakes and hugs (just to name a few).  These gestures certainly brightened our day and filled our hearts with joy.  It is truly our pleasure to serve such fine citizens. Again, we look forward to our continued service to the communities.

Sincerely,

Major Timothy D. Peek
on Behalf of Atlanta Police Department Zone Six Officers

Graffiti Task Force


Several years ago a dedicated resident by the name of Laura Voisinet agreed to serve as our Graffiti Czar. She organized a group of like-minded people to help and in short order the graffiti problem that had been growing in Virginia-Highland was under control.

Fast forward to today. Laura and her team have moved on to other commitments. However, recently we have seen a few spots being hit regularly with tags. The corner of Ponce de Leon and Ponce Place – especially the old Marco’s Pita building – and the alley running behind the shops on N. Highland are a few locations where new graffiti has popped up.

Though this is not nearly the problem that it was at one time, it would be good to have someone who could take charge when new tags appear. The job is not particularly onerous (mostly offering supplies and advise to property owners), but is a way to contribute to the appearance of the neighborhood. If you have any interest in taking on this responsibility, please send an email to me at VaHiSafety@gmail.com and we can discuss further.

Citizen’s Review Board


The Atlanta Citizen Review Board (ACRB) was established by ordinance as an independent agency in 2007, and amended with subpoena power in May of 2010. The purpose of the legislation is to ensure that city departments directly responsible for public safety, particularly the Police Department and the Department of Corrections, have the proper support of the government and its various agencies. It is designed to provide citizen oversight of misconduct accusations against sworn member of the police and corrections departments of the City of Atlanta (from website).

The ACRB meetings are open to the public and generally held on the second Thursday of each month in Committee Room One, Second Floor of Atlanta City Hall. However, the September 8th meeting will be held at 6:30 pm at the Blackburn Conference Center on the campus of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. Those who attend may observe the process of investigating cases of misconduct by sworn officers of the Atlanta Police Department and Department of Corrections. You are cordially invited to attend this and future meetings.

More information is available at www.acrbgov.org.

Reminder – Register Your Home Alarm System


In 2012 the City of Atlanta determined that 92% of alarm responses were false alarms. Every time Atlanta Police Department or Atlanta Fire Rescue is dispatched, they are taken away from real emergencies at a steep cost to the city and we the taxpayers. As a result, in 2013 a program was instituted requiring residential and business owners of alarm systems to register with the city. Failure to register an alarm system will result in a fine of $150. In addition, the first false alarm after registration is free, but thereafter the fines mount quickly from $50 for the 2nd fall alarm to $500 for each false alarm over the 6th.

What some may not realize is that this registration must be renewed every year. Those who have registered in the past should receive a notice when it is time to renew, but you can also go to this address to check your status.https://www.crywolfservices.com/atlantaga/ You can also pay fines online and dispute a false alarm claim.

Know Your Terms When Reporting Crime


We all commonly say, "I was robbed", when something is taken from us. However, when talking with law enforcement the words robbery, burglary, and larceny have very different meanings and will elicit a very different response.

Today on Nextdoor we heard of a shoplifting incident at the CVS on N. Highland. Unfortunately, reports indicate that a customer at CVS called 911 and reported that the CVS was being robbed. This brought officers from all over the zone along with the air unit in helicopters to try and locate what APD believed to be dangerous suspects who had used force or threat of force. Clearly an unnecessary drain on resources for three shoplifters who fled the store.

The FBAC team assembled a glossary that may help all of us to better understand these terms. Find it here http://www.fbacvahi.com/p/fbac-glossary.html. A lawyer might quibble with some of the language in these definitions, but the intent was to write something in plain English that we can all understand. BTW, shoplifting is considered a larceny as are snatch and grabs (ex. when someone steals a cellphone or laptop off the table while the owner is not paying attention).

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 one reported in Zone 6.

Pedestrian/Carjacking Robbery None reported in Beat 601 and nine reported in Zone 6.

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

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

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

Residential Burglary One reported in Beat 601 and twenty-six reported in Zone 6.

On July 6, 2016 at approximately 7:30 am a residential burglary was discovered on Arlington Place and reported to police. The homeowner left home around 10:30 on the previous evening and returned at 7:05 the next morning to find his front door wide open along with a front porch window. Suspects removed two computers, as well as an iPad, Apple watch, and Apple Nano. 

This homeowner did have an alarm system, but unfortunately it was not turned on while he was away. Also, there were no signs of forced entry, so it is likely the suspect entered through the unlocked front window. It is believed that house cleaners may have left it unlocked. Two prints were found and submitted for evidence in this case. 

The take away is to regularly check windows and door to make sure they are locked and to always engage your alarm system if you have one.

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

Larceny From Vehicle Two reported in Beat 601 and thirty-six reported in Zone 6.

Vehicles were entered on Lanier Blvd, and N. Highland Ave. In both cases windows were broken to gain entry. Stolen were book bags in both cases containing ID, cash, debit cards, etc. In the case of the break-in on N. Highland video captured two suspects. One was a tall thin black male wearing a blue shirt and blue shoes and the second was a black male wearing a black and white shirt. They were driving a silver Mercedes four door sedan with tinted windows and sunroof.

Note that this was an especially light period for auto break-ins. However, do not let your guard down. Please remember to remove any items from sight whether valuable or not. A bag full of dirty gym clothes might not be valuable to you, but a thief doesn’t know what it inside and will break your window to find out. This is also true of charger cords, etc. If they see a cord they will break a window to see if the phone, iPod, etc. in in the glove box or console.

Other Larcenies None reported in Beat 601 and twenty-five reported in Zone 6.

Auto Theft None reported in Beat 601 and sixteen in Zone 6.

If this report was forwarded to you by someone other than your street captain 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. If you are new to your street, include your street address and we will get you in contact you’re your street captain. Thanks.

Stay Safe!

Kay Stephenson

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