Zone 6 change in boundaries

As a result of months of meticulous planning – our Zone 6 changed boundary lines at 3 a.m. Tuesday – resulting in Amsterdam Avenue being the northern boundary of Zone 6, with our neighbors north of this street now being in Zone 2. At the same time Zone 6 welcomed much of the Old 4th Ward and Grant Park into its district. See the new city-wide changes as well as our new Zone 6 changes here. Our Amsterdam Avenue Street Captains will now have residents in two Zones.

Our Major Dalton responded to this challenge by creating a new unit specifically to address problems in the Old 4th Ward/ Boulevard area consisting of 8 Officers, a Sergeant and a Lieutenant. He emphasized that this new unit was created by additional personnel added to the Zone, so no resources were shifted from existing Beats. He stated to me – “Of course, decreasing crime (both on the newly acquired beats and the old beats) is the goal. When we decrease crime in the Old 4th Ward, it will have a positive impact on crime in nearby neighborhoods, both in Zone 6 and Zone 5.”

Two of the men in this newly formed unit are our former A Sector supervisor, Sergeant Sokloski, and our former evening watch patrolman, Officer Woolfolk. Officer Woolfolk proudly sent me this report on 12/15 after just two days on his new assignment – ” I took two convicted felons with firearms and drugs off the street tonight on Boulevard. My unit made 6 arrests in three hours yesterday and another 6 tonight. We also received some very good information from one of the arrestees. Our goal is to turn the tide on Boulevard and we are off to a great start.”

Officer Woolfolk sent me this farewell message as he moved into his new assignment by saying – ” I would like to thank you and the VaHi community for welcoming me in addition to giving me an opportunity to serve such a wonderful, dedicated and at times, even pugnacious group of people when it comes to keeping the Highland neighborhood safe. The experience has truly been invaluable and I will carry the lessons I’ve learned with me the duration of my career, as the VaHi community strengthened my understanding of community oriented policing and ultimately facilitated in making me a more well-rounded officer. It’s been an absolute pleasure serving as your beat officer each and every day.” I guess that one of the “pugnacious” folks he is referring to is the resident who went on a rampage with his vehicle last July on Arlington Place, Rosedale Drive and North Highland Avenue.

Our new evening watch man is Officer Lightkep and he wrote to tell me – ” Officer Cooper persuaded me long ago that this was the best community in Atlanta and ever since that conversation I have been trying to become the VaHi Beat Officer. I have filled in for Woolfolk and Cooper many times. I’m still technically a rookie as I am coming up on one year of service in January. In my short tenure I have over 80 arrests, ten of them for felonies, and just recently received Officer of the Week for nabbing the perps who stole the camera from the vehicle on Bonaventure Avenue (this was in the last Safety Team Report). I am becoming very familiar with the homeless/drug crowd that likes to hang out on PDL Avenue. I plan to actively patrol Ponce in efforts to keep them from wandering into the community, where they just can’t seem to resist looking into cars and knocking on doors. I look forward to policing in your community and establishing a healthy relationship with the people in it.”

We have been blessed by having diligent officers in the all-important evening watch period – starting with Officer Cooper, continuing with Officer Woolfolk and now with Officer Lightkep. Incidents in this evening watch time period are down dramatically from just a few years ago – thanx to these exceptional Officers, and to the expansion of the FBAC to the southern part of the neighborhood.

Christmas Caroling on 12/22

Virginia Avenue Street Captain Pete Mounts and his friends have organized a neighborhood carol session at 8:30 on Thursday evening at the corner of Virginia and North Highland Avenues in the traffic island. “The Big Christmas Carol” gathering will serve several important purposes, along with generating holiday spirit, will serve as a benefit for Chris Kids as well as allowing we as a community to honor the memory of Charles Boyer, whose life was taken on Virginia Avenue 11/22/2010, and to show the rest of the city that we as a neighborhood have emerged stronger than ever after this tragedy. Story at Patch. I have been informed that Charles’ parents may be in attendance in memory of their son. This should be a not-to-be-missed event for all of us.

Crime reports

The following reports are gleaned from our Zone 6 crime stats for the 50th week of 2011, with emphasis on our Beat 603 (we are now Beat 601 as of 12/13) , but with news from around all of Zone 6 as it applies to us. Again, I state, these reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to raise your level of awareness of the things that happen around us everyday. Week 51 will be the first report from our changed Zone 6.

  • Aggravated Assault – No reported incidents from Beat 603
  • Auto Theft – No reported incidents from Beat 603

    But nearby at the Intown Suites Motel on Piedmont Circle – the security guard reported his own vehicle stolen from this parking lot

  • Auto Theft Recovery – No reports from Beat 603
  • Residential Burglary – No reported incidents from Beat 603

    All around Zone 6 in this one week, 6 residences were entered via a kicked-in door. Two incidents in the Zone this week represent the difference good neighbors can make. A neighbor of a burglarized Wimbledon Road, N.E. residence reported hearing noises, but did not investigate – while alert neighbors on Clay Street, S.E. called 911 about a burglary in progress and got pix of the perp’s car as it fled (the car turned out to be stolen).

  • Commercial Burglary – No reported incidents from Beat 603
  • Residential Robbery – No reported incidents from Beat 603
  • Commercial Robbery – No reported incidents from Beat 603
  • Larceny From Vehicle – Vehicles were entered on PDL Avenue (2), North Highland Avenue (2) and Park Drive. One of the PDL Avenue incidents and the report from Park Drive were from landscaping companies reporting the loss of unlocked and unwatched equipment from the back of their trucks. Warn your yard service guys of the danger of not locking up all of their equipment while working. There were three such incidents reported this week.

    All around the Zone in this week alone there were FOURTEEN lap tops stolen, one catalytic converter sawed off, 4 I-pods taken, 2 I-pads swiped, two more GPS systems pulled out, another license plated unbolted, and yet another handgun added to the arsenal on the streets. This all happened in just one week Zonewide!!

  • Larceny Other – The Bill Hallman store on North Highland Avenue reported that a well-dressed “customer” gathered up $2000 worth of clothes, and after it was all bagged up, but before paying, he grabbed the bags and tried to flee. The bags were grabbed back by an alert and diligent employee – but the perp escaped.
  • Pedestrian Robbery – No reported incidents from Beat 603 and this is good!

    But nearby on Lenox Road near Woodland Avenue a lone male pedestrian was robbed at gunpoint at 9:45 p.m.

Continue to stay alert while enjoying this holiday season and keep your parked car cleaned out at ALL times – also warn your visitors about the Clean Car Campaign.

What the VHCA is asking of Atlanta Public Schools

Before you read the civic association’s official statement about this schools issue – here are some links that will help you to understand some of the information.

The “LISTSERV” is where you should go with questions.

Today, the Board of the VHCA sent a letter to the school board, superintendent, and demographers, as follows:

“The Virginia Highland Civic Association is committed to neighborhood schools, which play a key role in building a cohesive, strong and civic-minded community. We recognize that there are capacity and underutilization issues across Atlanta Public Schools (APS), which Superintendent Erroll Davis is attempting to solve through these four options. But the timeline, methodology, and current options are seriously flawed. We are further concerned that solutions to problems with which we are wrestling today, will have long term implications for our community that are not being considered. We seek a creative and collaborative solution that respects our neighborhoods and promotes the education and well-being of our children. To that end, we ask APS to:

Slow down the process and increase the level of transparency and inclusion. The speed of this process is an issue in itself. It’s a “rush-to-judgment” that alarms parents and makes thoughtful deliberation impossible. Unlike when SPARK was created to ease Morningside’s overcrowding, which had reached crisis proportions, this redistricting impacts every child within APS and, in the vast majority of cases, changes will not address crisis level problems. Given this, we agree with Inman Park’s call for a slower more deliberative process that, “would allow our communities to work together to find a common solution that benefits all children.” We echo the call to use the Local School Councils (LSC) to achieve the following:

  • Combine our SRT’s Local School Councils with the initial School Reform Team-3 (SRT-3) Focus Group to create a single task force charged with ensuring all community and stakeholder proposals are heard and included in the rezoning process.
  • Dispatch this task force, under LSC bylaws, to engage appropriately with APS, demographers, and the Atlanta Board of Education (ABOE) to arrive at one to two new SRT-3 rezoning proposals to submit to demographers, APS, and the ABOE for actual rezoning consideration.
  • Use this task force, under Local School Council bylaws, to build community trust through constructive parent and community stakeholder engagement across neighborhoods. Ensure that all voices and options relevant to this SRT and high school cluster are shared and clearly communicated throughout the process – from the demographic analysis to Superintendent Davis’ recommendation to final ABOE decisions.

If there are tough choices to be made, citizens need to know that all reasonable options have been heard and explored. But we can only do this if the process is fair, transparent, and inclusive.

Share all of the data being used to make decisions.  It is impossible to evaluate the data’s accuracy or to review all the underlying assumptions without making the data available. The absence of familiarity with neighborhood basics (i.e. knowing what streets are in what communities) and recommendations that don’t meet known state standards do not inspire confidence in observers. For example:

  • The current SPARK/Hope-Hill combination, as proposed in Option 3 and 4, does not address capacity issues. SPARK/Hope-Hill K-2 at Hope-Hill can only use 21 out of 28 classrooms because current classroom dimensions do not meet state standards.
  • SPARK/Hope-Hill K-2 at SPARK would immediately be over capacity, and this does not include the potential of additional students arriving from the Intown Academy.

Honor Communities. APS stated that retaining community and not splitting neighborhoods was a driving objective. We strongly agree with it; research indicates that community plays a very important role in the success and stability of a child. The neighborhoods who currently attend these schools are a community; this includes Midtown, Poncey-Highland, Candler Park, Inman Park, Lake Claire, and Morningside. Morningside and Virginia-Highland have been indistinguishable to most citizens – including your demographers, who didn’t know their boundaries – for many decades.

The current process incentivizes neighborhoods to pick a choice that benefits them at cost to their neighbors’ wishes; it pits neighborhoods against one another. For this reason, the VHCA rejects all of the options being proposed. 

Keep and Promote Walkable Neighborhood Schools. As much as possible, keep our schools within a walkable distance from our homes. Walkable schools contribute to a quality education by reducing absenteeism and increasing parental involvement. They also decrease costs by streamlining and simplifying transportation.

Several of the options presented place Springdale Park and Morningside children miles away from their homes – in the case of Morningside – many miles away. This is counter to APS’ primary goal – the promotion of quality education.

Expand Springdale Park and Mary Lin’s capacity as rapidly as possible. The VHCA supports the implementation of solutions that will address current, pressing problems and speak to the concerns of parents. SPARK is currently almost 100 students over capacity for a building that was only opened two years ago. When the parking lot property was purchased, provisions were made to use this area for future expansion; furthermore, property exists adjacent to and in close proximity to the school may be available for purchase. We understand from APS Board Members that SPLOST funding is available to start building immediately in the northern end of the property. Under any scenario, the need for increased space at both schools is clear; the time for that expansion isnow.

Ensure that all students live “in the zone”. There are inevitably some students at every school who do not live in the community. The numbers may be small and when space was not at a premium, it wasn’t an issue, but now it is. An audit represents a good-faith effort that APS isaddressing internal admissions processes while addressing space issues.

In closing, for decades our citizens have advocated for and supported all public schools, even in times when the very existence of their neighborhoods was threatened by highway construction and dwindling populations. These communities – like all those in this city – deserve a fair, informed and deliberative voice in future decisions on educational topics. Such approaches are the right of every neighborhood. We are capable of considering difficult decisions that are the result of a fair, transparent and inclusive process; our disappointment in and resistance to anything less than that will be unending.

We look forward to collaborating with the surrounding neighborhoods and APS in the development of a solution to our capacity issues.

Sincerely,

The Board of Directors of the Virginia-Highland Civic Association”

A Serious Message For Parents

In light of the tragic abduction and subsequent death in suburban Canton recently of the seven year old child, Jorelys Rivera, I found this well written frank message to parents on the Sandy Springs Patch that I think all parents should read and heed.

While on this same subject – our Zone 6 Officer Pat Apoian and his Humble Heroes group has a benefit planned for the Rivera family for Sunday evening 12/11 at Avellino’s Pizza on West College Avenue in Decatur. Details here. I had the pleasure of seeing Officer Apoian on Thanksgiving eve at Zone 6 when he dropped by for the appreciation dinner for our Zone 6 personnel – he looks great and is now walking without a cane.

The APD Beat/Zone Redesign Change

The long talked about Beat Redesign program will take place city-wide next Tuesday 12/13. At this time our northern NPU “F” neighbors in Morningside, Piedmont Heights and Lindridge/Martin Manor will be in APD Zone 2 – with Amsterdam Avenue being the boundary between Zone 2 and Zone 6. Our Beat 603 now will be known as Beat 601, with the boundaries staying the same as our VaHi borders. Zone 6 will also lose the southernmost beat in the Thomasville Heights area and will be picking up two Zone 5 beats in the Old Fourth Ward just south of us. This massive city-wide beat redesign change has been in planning for a year or so and should happen without most of us seeing many visible changes.

Community Christmas Caroling

Thanks to Virginia Avenue resident Pete Mounts for organizing a Christmas Carol session on Thursday 12/22 in the traffic island at Virginia and North Highland Avenues at 8:30 p.m. “The Big Christmas Carol” session will serve several purposes, along with generating holiday spirit, in that it will be a benefit for Chris Kids as well as allowing us as a community to honor the memory of Charles Boyer, whose life was taken on 11/22/2010 on Virginia Avenue, and to show the rest of the city that our neighborhood has emerged stronger and more vibrant than ever in spite of this tragedy. Story at Patch.

VaHi Tour of Homes 12/10 and 12/11

Tickets to this popular seasonal tour of VaHi homes will be available in front of the YWCA at 957 North Highland Avenue. Details of the tour at www.vahitourofhomes.org. Be a good neighbor and remind our tour visitors of the Clean Car Campaign – cleaned out cars won’t tempt thieves. There is a good video about clean cars while enjoying this holiday season at the APD website on the right hand side of the APD homepage.

Crime reports

The following reports are gleaned from our APD Zone 6 crime stats for the weeks 48 and 49, 2011, with emphasis on our Beat 603, but with news from around the Zone as it applies to us. Again, I state these reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to raise community awareness and alertness about the things that happen around us everyday.

  • Aggravated Assault – No Reported Incidents in Beat 603
  • Auto Theft – No Reported Incidents in Beat 603
  • Auto Theft Recovery – No Reported Cases in Beat 603
  • Residential Burglary – No Reported Incidents in Beat 603
  • Commercial Burglary – No Reported Incidents in Beat 603
  • Residential Robbery – No Reported Incidents in Beat 603
  • Commercial Robbery – No Reported Incidents in Beat 603
  • Larceny From Vehicle – Vehicles were broken into on PDL Place, Maiden Lane, Greenwood Avenue (2), Virginia Avenue, North Highland Avenue and Bonaventure Avenue The Bonaventure victim stated he had left the window slightly rolled down – but saw the perps running, called 911 and after a chase the perps were caught. This resident was very lucky to get his camera, bookbag and laptop returned.
  • All around the entire Zone in this time period there were 5 catalytic converters sawed off, 5 laptops stolen, 5 cell phones swiped, eleven GPS systems removed, another hand gun added to the arsenal on the streets, 3 license plates were unbolted, and one car lost 3 tires/rims.
    Keep walking behind your car on a regular basis to make sure you still have your license plate.
    On Johnson Road in Morningside a lawn care firm had the locks cut on their parked trailer while mowing and lost several pieces of equipment.
  • Larceny Other – A Virginia Avenue bar patron left her purse on the counter to talk to friends – and yep – you guessed it!! The Monroe Drive rental office lock box for rent checks that was rifled as reported in the last report – reported that 2 money orders taken were cashed.
    In East Atlanta a lawn care firm lost power equipment when they left them on the front lawn while they worked elsewhere on the property. And this had to happen somewhere this holiday season – inflatable Christmas decorations were stolen from a lawn in East Atlanta.
  • Pedestrian Robbery – No Reported Incidents in Beat 603
    But nearby at the Monroe Drive Wachovia across from Ansley Mall, a patron was leaving with his money bag tucked under his arm, and it was snatched (after a struggle) with the perp running across the street to Ansley Mall and escaping in a car. The victim lost $300. Interestingly enough, the perp had been inside the bank trying to cash a fraudulent check and inadvertently left his ID and debit card behind. No arrest has been made yet. I would assume he is hiding somewhere, but he’ll have to surface sometime.

An interesting link was posted today on the 4th Ward Alliance message board about work and progress at Ponce City Market.

Stay alert and enjoy this wonderful holiday season in our wonderful neighborhood, keeping your cell phones hidden in your clothing as you walk.

Crime reports

The following reports are gleaned from our APD Zone 6 crimes stats for the weeks of 45, 46 and 47 of 2011, with emphasis on our VaHi Beat 603, but with news from around the Zone as it applies to us. Again, I repeat, these reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to raise your level of awareness and alertness to incidents that happen around us everyday.

Aggravated Assault – On 11/5 at 10:00 p.m. a male resident of the Briarcliff Summit building was going to Publix when he was asked for money by a 30-something b/m – a request he declined. Upon leaving and crossing at the traffic lite at the library, he was jumped and stabbed in the left thigh – not apparent as to whether the perp was also the one who asked for money.

Auto Theft – A locked scooter was stolen from the Briarcliff Summit building, and vehicles were taken from Greenwood Avenue, and St. Charles Place. Vehicles with keys left in the vehicle were stolen from Cheshire Bridge Road and South PDL Avenue.

The APD auto theft task force left a car with the keys inside at a Candler Road, S.E. gas station and watched as it was stolen. They deactivated the car a couple of blocks away and arrested the thief. I’d love to watch this task force in action sometime.

Auto Theft Recovery – No reports in Beat 603

Residential Burglary – An under-construction home on Amsterdam Avenue was entered and copper items stolen.

All around the Zone in this 3 week time period 12 residences were entered via kicked-in doors. Also – a dog door was used for entry on Hilburn Drive, S.E.

Commercial Burglary – No reports in Beat 603

Residential Robbery – No reports in Beat 603

Commercial Robbery – No Reports in Beat 603

Larceny From Auto – Vehicles were entered on Greenwood Avenue, Amsterdam Walk (2), North Highland Avenue, Orme Circle, and Briarcliff Road. License plates were taken from Amsterdam Avenue and Briarcliff Terrace, and a catalytic converter was sawed off from a parked PDL Avenue vehicle.

All around the Zone in this 3 week time period there were TWENTY laptops taken, 3 I-pads taken, 3 license plates unbolted, 3 catalytic converters sawed off, 12 GPS systems stolen, 9 I-pods taken, and four more hand guns added to the arsenal on the streets.

Larceny Other – The North Highland Avenue CVS caught a shoplifter. Rent checks were taken from a Monroe Drive drop box. At a Drewry Street under renovation – personal items are missing. On PDL Place the driver left behind a flat tire on the rim after replacing it and when they came back it was gone. (Surprised?) Bicycles were stolen from Park Drive and PDL Avenue. At an unnamed North Highland Avenue business a patron hung his coat on a coat rack and asked a stranger to watch it for him – yes, the stranger and his coat were gone when he returned along with his I-pod, driver’s license and debit card.

Pedestrian Robbery – No Reports in Beat 603

However, on 11/11 at 7:45 p.m. on Hurt Street in Inman Park two females were robbed at gunpoint by two males, and on 11/5 a lone male on Euclid Avenue was robbed at gunpoint by a lone male at 2:15 a.m. And on 11/19 at 7:30 p.m. on Wylie Street in Cabbagetown 4 pedestrians were robbed at gunpoint by two males with one of the victims being pistol whipped. Yeah – they are still out there – so be very aware when you are on foot.

Use a lot of common sense while enjoying this holiday season and stay safe. Keep your locked parked car cleaned out at ALL times, and don’t wait til you are parked in a busy lot to “hide” things in your trunk (someone will be watching).

Street Light Outages

If you have a burned out street lite on your street or nearby – make a report and keep VaHi lit at nite. Burned out street lites on wood poles are to be reported to GA Power customer service at 1-888-660-5890 and make sure you either specify the street number the pole is closest to or the intersecting streets (if on a corner). Street lites on metal poles get reported to Public Works at publicworks@atlantaga,gov These burned out bulbs get changed during the daytime – so the specific location is very important.

Front Porch Package Thefts

Tis the season to be receiving gift packages and also the season to be losing some of these packages to thieves. Thwart these thefts by taking advantage of our safe address program at Intown Hardware, CityStorage and Highland Wine and Crystal. Stop by any of these local friendly businesses and sign up free to use their address for a safe delivery. Then, let your out-of-town relatives and friends know to use this address for your gifts. No FedEx and UPS packages sitting on front door steps mean that these thieves go to another neighborhood to ply their trade.

Trees Atlanta planting

Saturday morning 12/10 ( 9 til noon) Trees Atlanta will be here to plant 60 new neighborhood trees in areas near the BeltLine. Meet on Arcadia Street at Virginia Avenue in tree planting clothes along with your gloves – kids welcome with parental supervision. This is yet another way to meet your neighbors, and then you can watch the trees you helped plant grow and prosper in years to come. Direct any questions to our VaHi tree lady, Stephanie Coffin at stcoffin@comcast.net

Community Safety Meeting November 15th, 2011

Another reminder to mark your calendars for 11/15/2011 at 6:30 p.m. at the YWCA on North Highland Avenue with Major Dalton from Zone 6 and Major Browning from Zone 2. Sometime in December, the area north of Amsterdam Avenue is slated to become part of Zone 2, as part of APD’s long ago announced redistricting plan.

Thanx to Councilman Alex Wan for organizing this session and he stated – ” There have been a number of serious crimes that have occurred in our neighborhoods recently. Additionally, the approaching holidays are a period when we tend to see increased criminal activity. I felt this would be a good time to have a discussion on public safety in our neighborhoods and an opportunity to have everyone’s questions answered. Plus we as a community need to know how we can work together to deter this activity from our neighborhoods.”

Notes from this meeting will be compiled by Rosedale Drive Street Captain Kay Stephenson. If you note significant items to be stressed to all folks who are not in attendance – please pass them on to Kay at kay.stephenson@gmail.com These notes will be passed on to the community in my next report. I will not be able to attend due to a long-planned obligation – so take good notes.

Halloween Weekend Events

This will be a busy weekend for family activities.

Saturday morning from 9 to 11 there will be a cleanup in Orme Park – bring your gloves, trimmers and pruners to clear out invasive shrubs and enhance the recent repainting of the bridge.

Saturday afternoon at 4 – get dressed up in Halloween garb (adults, children and dogs), and bring a potluck dish to share, at the annual Atkins Park Halloween party in the new parkland at North Highland Avenue @ St. Charles Place.

Sunday morning – the Atlanta Marathon will be coming north on North Highland Avenue, west on Virginia Avenue, and then turning onto Park Drive to go to Piedmont Park. Plan your Sunday morning driving route accordingly. www.atlantamarathon.org

Sunday afternoon – get dressed up in your Halloween garb again to attend the Orme Swarm at Orme Park from 4 to 6. Bring a potluck dish to share as well as your drinks and blankets for seating.

Monday evening – traditional “trick or treat” night. Drive carefully this evening.

All of these events provide an excellent way to meet new neighbors.

Crime reports

The following reports are gleaned from the Zone 6 crime stats for the weeks of 41 and 42 of 2011, with emphasis on our VaHi Beat # 603, but with news from around the Zone as it applies to us. Again, I state, these reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to make you aware of what happens around us everyday and to raise your level of alertness.

Aggravated Assault – On 10/10 at 10:30 p.m. on PDL Avenue in the vicinity of the Carlton Condos, there was a street fight between 2 males that resulted in the arrest of the aggressor.

Auto Theft – Vehicles were stolen from Frederica Street and PDL Place (2).

Auto Theft Recovery – No reports from Beat 603

Residential Burglary – An apartment at the Briarcliff Summit was robbed with no apparent signs of forced entry – the victim was in the hospital at the time of the incident and found the door locked when he returned.

All around the Zone in this time period entry to residences was made via kicked-in doors 6 times.

Commercial Burglary – No reports from Beat 603. But nearby, the Ansley Mall CVS store was entered via a rock thrown thru the glass front door with cigarettes being taken.

Larceny From Vehicle – Vehicles were broken into/or entered on Clemont Drive, Los Angeles Avenue, Amsterdam Walk, Virginia Avenue, Lanier Boulevard (2), Maryland Avenue, Adair Avenue, and Greenwood Avenue. Only three of these reported incidents involved neighborhood residents – the other 6 incidents involved out-of-neighborhood visitors.

All around the Zone in this time period vehicle invasions resulted in 5 cell phones being stolen, one more hand gun added to the arsenal on the streets, 5 I-Pads taken, 5 I-Pods swiped, SEVENTEEN lap tops taken, 5 GPS systems ripped out, 2 catalytic converters sawed off, one license plate taken off, and a battery taken out from under the hood.

Larceny Other – A Briarcliff Summit resident reported the theft of a cell phone by a visiting prostitute.

A/C units continue to be stolen all over the Zone by copper thieves. At the PDL Avenue Kroger store an elderly female was approached by two males – one of whom engaged her in conversation while the other took a wallet from her purse. The Edgewood Target reported 5 shoplifters, and our PDL Avenue Kroger and Publix stores reported 3 shoplifting incidents.

Residential Robbery – No reports from Beat 603

Commercial Robbery – No reports from Beat 603

Pedestrian Robbery – On 10/9 @ 10 p.m. in front of 785 Virginia Avenue 3 females were robbed at gunpoint by a lone male who fled on foot. On 10/15 @ 2:30 a.m. a Frederica Street female resident was robbed in front of 1022 St. Charles Avenue by the perp pushing an unknown object at her chest – he fled in a waiting car. On 10/9 @ 9:10 p.m. a male Greenwood Avenue resident was robbed at gunpoint on Blue Ridge Avenue in Poncey Highland by a lone male who fled on foot. There were also several similar robbery incidents reported in Inman Park and L5P, as well as Midtown, in this time period – again after dark.

Help For Finding Stolen/Lost Cell Phones

Our own Zone 6 Investigator Gurley has alerted me to a new app that can be loaded on to your I-Phone to find it’s location after a theft or loss -

https://auth.me.com/authenticate?service=mail&ssoNamespace=appleid&formID=loginForm&returnURL=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cubWUuY29tL21haWwv

He tells me that he has notified our Zone 6 officers and supervisors on how to use this app. I’ll be anxious now to hear how this really works.

The attached report from Midtown’s MPSA patrol is very timely. I too have been watching the reports on the Peachtree-Pine situation and wonder if the Homeless Task Force will really be evicted from the building and if Watershed Management will force payment of the huge unpaid water bill. The fate of this shelter will very much affect us here in VaHi too.

Enjoy this wonderful fall weather – just not on a late nite walk!! Keep your parked cars cleaned out and locked and remember – See Something – Say Something (meaning to call 911 for suspicious situations).

Traffic/Races

Traffic Alerts

There is to be an outdoor festival in the Mix parking lot on North Highland Avenue @ Briarcliff Place on Saturday10/22 from 2 til 10 http://xorbia.com/e/festivalofexcellence/ A reminder to festival patrons that the streets in this area have resident only parking after 6 p.m. on Saturdays. Non-resident parkers on these marked streets are subject to being towed by PARKatlanta. These are the three Saint named streets in Atkins Park as well as Briarcliff Place and Arlington Place.

The Atlanta Marathon will be going thru VaHi on 10/30. Route info at www.atlantamarathon.org click on event info then click on spectator info to get to street closings. Plan ahead!

The Susan G. Komen Cancer Walk will also be coming thru VaHi on Sunday morning 10/23, with a cheering section in John Howell Park on Virginia Avenue from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Limited route info is at http://www.the3day.org/site/pageserver?pagename=AT_spectator The Sunday morning time should not cause too many traffic problems, except for the attendees of Virginia Highland Church on Virginia Avenue. Hope the walk folks have been in contact with the church to make plans.

The Park Drive bridge entrance to Piedmont Park is scheduled for renovations/repairs thru 11/15 with limited usage at times and limited access to the dog park.

The DBA Barbecue Vandalism Incident

To see a CBS Atlanta report of this incident from 10/11 and get a close-up view of the perp’s face – go to http://web.me.com/Sastern/Site/My_Great_Movie.html. The perp was far from being just a harmless drunk, and evidently strung out on something more than a couple of beers and represents a danger to the neighborhood. If you have any knowledge about this person, please contact Detective Floyd at Zone 6 at bfloyd@atlantaga.gov The property owner, Highlands Real Estate, is also offering a reward for information leading to an arrest of this individual. Someone out there must know who this guy is.

Crime reports

Due to life getting in the way of my usual reporting schedule – this report contains three weeks of crime stats for the weeks 38, 39 and 40 of 2011. These are gleaned from the Zone 6 reports, with emphasis on our VaHi Beat 603 along with news from around the Zone as it affects us. Again, I state these reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to make you aware of what happens around us everyday.

Aggravated Assault – There was a fight among employees and patrons of the MJQ Club on PDL Avenue at 3 a.m. – with evidently no serious injuries. There was a domestic situation on Drewry Street involving alcohol.

Nearby, at the troubled (to say the least) Room Service Lounge on Piedmont Circle, there was an inside shooting report involving patrons.

Auto Theft – Vehicles were taken from Highland Terrace, Orme Circle, and a botched attempt on Clemont Drive.

Auto Theft Recovery – No reports from Beat 603

Residential Burglary – A Greenwood Avenue home was entered via a forced open rear window. A home on Rosedale Drive was entered with no signs of forced entry.

Commercial Burglary – No reports from Beat 603

Larceny from Vehicle – Vehicles were entered on Los Angeles Avenue (3), St. Charles Avenue, PDL Avenue (2 – one of which was a stolen license plate), Kanuga Street, Orme Circle, Virginia Avenue (3) and Arlington Place (2). Of these 13 reported incidents – 10 of the owners were from outside of the neighborhood. Please warn your visitors and business patrons to clean out their parked cars!!!

All around the Zone in this time period there were 32 laptops taken, 8 I-Pods swiped, 9 cell phones taken, 5 GPS systems taken out, 3 license plates unbolted, 2 more weapons added to the arsenal on the streets, one catalytic converter sawed off, 5 reports of both tires and rims taken off and the car propped up, and two reports of just hub caps being taken off.

Larceny Other – A locked bicycle was taken from North Highland Avenue, and a moving-out roommate on Briarcliff Terrace took along cash and prescriptions from the remaining resident.

Our PDL Avenue Kroger and Publix reported 4 shoplifters. The Edgewood Target store reported 20 shoplifting incidents. All around the Zone there were also 11 reports of A/C units stolen – mainly from vacant apartments and homes.

Now – the worst part of this report is all of the laptops and cell phones snatched from pedestrians and sidewalk cafe tables – none in Beat 603, but nearby neighborhoods. At the Ansley Starbucks at 3 p.m. – a cellphone snatched from a table. There were 3 Inman Park reports of laptops taken from North Highland Avenue sidewalk cafe tables at 3 p.m., 9:15 p.m. and 12:45 p.m. – all the perps fled in different described cars. There were two reports of cell phones being snatched from Euclid Avenue pedestrians – one at 6 p.m. and the other at 11:30 p.m. A cell phone was snatched from an Elizabeth Street sidewalk table at noon and another cell phone snatched from a North Highland Avenue (Inman Park) pedestrian at 8:15 p.m. And lastly an unwatched cell phone was taken from the charging station at the East Atlanta Library.

These reports are in addition to at least 4 more reported in Inman Park/L5P just this week, of which some of these thefts were cleared by APD in some swift and decisive action. That story at http://m.ajc.com/news/atlanta/new-atlanta-police-unit-1195984.html and at

http://www.wsbtv.com/s/news/ But even though this one robbing gang has been jailed – there are still plenty of other such thieves on the loose yet. Remember – owning a cell phone or a laptop is NOT a status symbol anymore and there is no reason to advertise to the world you have such an electronic item. Walking and talking or texting is not safe and showing off your laptop while seated at a sidewalk cafe table is not wise.

One final story in this category that emphasizes that it is not cool to steal something from a police officer!! At the PDL Avenue Publix parking lot, an officer was giving a suspect a ticket after he refused to move from the fire lane. He grabbed the citation book and fled in his car. APD went to his Clarkston residence, made an arrest and retrieved the ticket book.

Pedestrian Robbery – No reports from Beat 603

Enjoy this beautiful fall weather – just keep those cell phones and lap tops hidden from view.

Zone 6 Awards

At the recent annual Crime is Toast Breakfast and Awards Ceremony, sponsored by the Atlanta Police Foundation, Zone 6 personnel were honored in the following categories -

  • The Purple Heart Award – our still-recovering Investigator Pat Apoian We wish him a successful healing process
  • Supervisor of the Year – Sergeant Ryan Sinks
  • Civilian Employee of the Year – Ms. Gayle Rogers
  • Department Commendation – Officer Tanya Alejandro
  • 2010 Crime Reduction Award – All of the Zone 6 personnel led by Major Dalton

The Fulton County Jail Saga Continues….

The same old story – new edition. The Fulton County Commission, still facing prison sentences for contempt of Federal Judge Shoob’s orders, is still talking. But, to their credit, more county departments have been added to the discussion. As long-time commissioner Tom Lowe is quoted – “We’re not gaining on the problem. As the days roll by and years roll by. It’s getting worse.” The most recent story at AJC. We the citizens are being held by years of short-term fixes when the economy was in good shape and a permanent solution could have been more easily tackled.

Crime reports

The following reports are gleaned from our Zone 6 crime stats for the weeks of 36 and 37 of 2011, with emphasis on our VaHi Beat 603, but with news from around the Zone as it applies to us. These reports are not meant to scare anyone – but to make you aware of what happens around us everyday.

Aggravated Assault – No reports from Beat 603

Auto Theft – Vehicles were stolen from Virginia Avenue, North Highland Avenue (2), Lanier Boulevard, Rosedale Drive, and an unchained scooter was taken from Virginia Avenue.

Auto Theft Recovery – No reports from Beat 603

Residential Burglary – A North Highland Avenue apartment was entered with no signs of forced entry. The resident advised that the door had been left unlocked.

Commercial Burglary – No reports from Beat 603

Larceny From Vehicle – Vehicles were broken into on PDL Avenue (4), Briarcliff Place (3), Virginia Avenue (2) and PDL Place. Of these 10 reports, 9 of the vehicle owners were from outside of Beat 603 – with only one resident being careless in leaving articles in view for stealing.

All over the Zone in this time period, one catalytic converter was sawed off, amazingly enough only 2 GPS systems stolen, eleven laptops taken, and once again there was one report of nothing taken after an intrusion.

Larceny Other – A Monroe Drive resident reported medications and cash taken by a suspected acquaintance. A Briarcliff Terrace resident reported cash taken by a boyfriend (ex-boyfriend now I would assume).

The Edgewood Target store caught 6 shoplifters and a pet dog was picked up by a thief posing as the owner at the Edgewood Petco store. A/C units continue to be stolen all over the Zone for the copper parts – especially from empty residences.

Residential Robbery – No reports from Beat 603

Commercial Robbery – No reports from Beat 603

Pedestrian Robbery – No reports from Beat 603

But in Beat 609 south of here on Moreland Avenue at an ATM at 11 p.m. a robber approached the victim with a knife and demanded his cash and got $22 – but an alert bystander witness pulled out his weapon to thwart the theft and an arrest was made. Is it really worth the risk of using an ATM late at nite?

Enjoy this wonderful fall weather and all the festivals coming up. Stay alert and remember to clean out parked cars at ALL times.

See Something – Say Something!!! Keep making those suspicious activity/persons 911 calls. We all have an obligation to look out for each other.

Orme Park Bridge Cleanup

Our diligent VaHi graffiti czar, Laura Voisinet, has announced a graffiti paintover under the bridge to be held Monday 9/26 from 5:30 til dark. Laura also wants to clean out the underbrush from this area – so wear old clothes, bring along your gloves along with pruners to help in this effort to produce a safer environment at the edge of this very popular park. Cleaning out the brush in this area will make it a less hospitable place for local teens to gather. Please send a RSVP to Laura at laura.voisinet@gmail.com if you can participate so she will have plenty of paint rollers and other supplies available. APD has responded to my requests for additional patrol checks under the bridge and the under-the-bridge gatherings seem to have greatly tapered off.

Residents of this immediate area and park users have a very obvious obligation to help keep this area safe and clean – so please support Laura in her efforts. This is all a vital part of the “broken window” theory of crime prevention.

Keep Atlanta Beautiful / Electronics Recycling

The very popular electronics recycling program has now been permanently moved to the former Walden Middle School parking lot at 320 Irwin Street, N.E. in the Old 4th Ward and is now held on the 2nd Saturday of the month from 10 til 3. More details at www.keepatlantabeautiful.org. While you are at that website, click on “membership” and please consider joining this group. The reasonable membership dues help to finance the purchase of supplies for clean-ups and graffiti control. We use these supplies on a regular basis for VaHi graffiti erasure and paint-overs and we used trash bags from this organization when we cleaned up Maiden Lane earlier this year. This is fast becoming a vital group in helping to keep this city cleaner and neater. Your membership will really help this group grow in its service to our city.

Upcoming Festivals and Traffic Info

These festivals will necessitate changes in your regular travel routes – plan ahead and avoid frustrations. Music Midtown on 9/24 will have 10th Street closed www.musicmidtown.com and click on “neighbor info” for street closings. Battle of the Burgers at John Howell Park on 10/1 will close Virginia Avenue that day. Atlanta Pride Festival on 10/8 and 10/9 will have lane closings on 10th Street, as well as the parade route on 10/9. The parade route is at http://atlantapride.org/parade

Our Continuing Jail Fiasco

Our Fulton County Commissioners continue to hold we Atlanta citizens in jeopardy as they dance around the real issue of finding a permanent solution to the overcrowding issue on Rice Street. The City of Atlanta’s about face stance as to the sale of our city jail has not helped the problem either. http://m.ajc.com/news/atlanta/atlantas-sale-of-jail-1182109.html This is hardly a new problem either as shown from this 4/8/2004 article http://clatl.com/atlanta/a-lawsuit-waiting-to-happen/content?oid=1247099 Judge Shoob’s very real threat of prison sentences for contempt of court for our commissioners finally produced this stop-gap measure http://m.ajc.com/news/north-fulton/deal-with-union-city-1185879.html If you wish to ask the commissioners what they plan to do next in the way of permanent solutions – their e-mail addresses are at http://www.fultoncountyga.gov/commissioners just click on each commissioner to get their address. We are going to have to bite the budget bullet to find the financing to create more permanent jail space quickly – not later. Thanx to statehouse rep Pat Gardner for bird-dogging this issue from a state level.

Crime reports

The following reports are gleaned from the Zone 6 crime stats for the weeks of 34 and 35 of 2011, with emphasis on our VaHi Beat 603, but with news from around the Zone as it affects us. This report is not meant to scare anyone, but to make you aware of what happens around us everyday and to raise your level of alertness.

Aggravated Assault – No reported incidents in Beat 603

Auto Theft – A vehicle was stolen from Amsterdam Avenue (actually this was in Beat 602, as it was on the north side of the street).

Auto Theft Recovery – No reported recoveries in Beat 603

Residential Burglary – An apartment at the Virginia Highland apartments on Virginia Avenue was entered via a kicked-in front door. A flat-screen tv and a laptop were taken – I wonder if these items were visible through a window?

Throughout Zone 6 in this time period 8 residences were entered via kicked-in doors.

Commercial Burglary – The storage facility on Kanuga Street reported 7 units being broken into.

The Paideia School on South PDL Avenue had a storage garage broken into losing 3 riding lawnmowers and a golf cart.

Larceny From Vehicle – Vehicles were broken into on PDL Avenue, Amsterdam Walk, Virginia Avenue, and Maiden Lane. I have a feeling that there are many vehicle break-ins on Maiden Lane that are never reported due to the continual piles of glass on this street.

All around the Zone in this time period there were 10 laptops stolen, 7 I-pods, 4 I-pads, 8 GPS systems taken, 2 more handguns added to the arsenal on the streets, one license plate unbolted, one muffler sawed off and once again – one report of nothing taken.

Larceny Other – A social security check was stolen from a North Highland Avenue mailbox (use direct deposit for such checks). A PDL Place pedestrian (with earphones in) had her cell phone snatched at 8:40 p.m. A similar theft happened at midnite on Euclid Avenue in L5P. These visible cell phones are a magnet for thieves – don’t walk and talk and keep the phones in your pocket while walking or running.

Got a trailer and wanna keep it? Hide it when not in use!! In this time period throughout the Zone, trailers were stolen from Page Avenue, N.E., Clifton Road, N.E., Meridian Street, S.E. and Moreland Avenue, S.E. – these thefts are in addition to two reports from here on Monroe Drive and Highland View a few weeks ago. The Moreland Avenue theft was reported to have been seen taken away by a tow truck.

The Edgewood Target store caught 5 shoplifters, and our PDL Avenue Kroger and Publix stores caught 3 non-payers. Also A/C units continue to be stolen, especially from unoccupied buildings.

Pedestrian Robbery – Two incidents here in VaHi. On Barnett Street on 8/14 at 5 a.m. 4 pedestrians were robbed at gunpoint by 2 male perps who then fled in a car. On North Highland Avenue, just north of the CVS store, at around 11:30 or so (the 911 report was not made til much later) two pedestrians were robbed at gunpoint by two male perps who fled on foot. The reported reason for the delayed call was that both victims lost their cell phones in the robbery. Surprised that the victims did not walk across the street to Diesel to make a 911 call – but I am not going to judge, since I have never had a gun pointed at my head.

One more thing I forgot – we need another VaHi person to take a seat on a committee formed of Midtown, Ansley Park, Morningside residents looking into better practices for Piedmont Park events. This person will join Amsterdam Avenue Street Captain, Abby Martin, and really should be someone who lives in the area directly affected by Park events and also needs to have a flexible schedule to attend daytime meetings. Contact me for more info.

Electronics Recycling

The very popular monthly electronics recycling co-sponsored by Keep Atlanta Beautiful is making some growing changes. The details at www.keepatlantabeautiful.org The new location in the 4th Ward at the former Walden Middle School on Irwin Street, N.E. is much easier to navigate and has a great skyline view while you wait to unload your recyclables. The next date is now Saturday 9/10. The August event at Grady High School netted 8.5 tons of electronics turned in for recycling!! Yes – this service is needed in our intown communities.

Detective Pat Apoian’s Recovery Process

Today, 9/1, will be the first of three surgeries he is facing on his road to recovery. Here is part of an e-mail I got from Pat recently. ” I am so blessed to have everyone’s support. All the different neighborhoods have been amazing and people from all over have sent donations. I am really in shock. Please let everyone in VaHi know that my spirits are good. I have done nothing but reflect on how much I want to be back at work with a community of such wonderful people. I look forward to sending you e-mails once again and asking for help to put away a criminal. Please also pass along to them that I said – above all stay alert and don’t get complacent”

There is a planned benefit on 9/17 from 11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. at Los Maguey Mexican Restaurant, 5456 Bethelview Road, Cumming. Info from Belcher.Randy@gmail.com Then this event just came to me as I am typing – http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=250729261633642

Lots of folks are rooting for him.

Voice – Fall 2011

Download PDF here (2.0 MB)

- Summerfest success
- President’s corner: volunteer for the board!
- Safety update: street captains, graffiti removal
- New Highland Park brick purchases
- 2011 Gold List of neighborhood businesses
- Street tree do’s and don’ts
- Patrols expand in VaHi and Old Fourth Ward
- VaHi history book published
- Parks update: Orme and New Highland
- Bella Cucina
- Repairs coming near Chevron and The Cavern
- Garrison Afterschool expands

Voice – Summer 2011

Download PDF here (7.5 MB)

- Summerfest
- Recent accomplishments of VHCA
- Maintaining curb appeal
- Funding received to benefit Orme and New Highland parks
- Rosedale Dr./N. Virginia intersection improvements made
- New businesses (Catalyst, Genki)
- History Part XI

Voice – Winter 2010-11

Published late November 2010
Download PDF (1.8 MB)

- Get ready to do the tour (Tour of Homes)
- President’s corner by Aly Higgins
- Group works to rid VaHi of graffiti, by Victoria Hathcox and Laura Voisinet
- Planning continues for construction of New Highland Park, improvements to Orme Park: Both projects could see groundbreaking in early 2010, by Pamela Papner
- Green Dream fundraising
- VHCA wants Atlanta Gas Light to repave streets adversely impacted by recent line work: Gas company meets some, not all, of neighborhood’s cleanup requests
- Spotlight on public safety: keep your dollars at home! by John Wolfinger
- History of Virginia-Highland, Part IX
- Restaurant review: Goin’ Coastal
- New burger joint opens in VaHi