Vehicle Break-ins

As most of you know by now, I have been stressing the importance of the Clean Car Campaign for years now, and, granted, we have made great strides here in VaHi as to reducing the number of such incidents every week – but they still continue to be a major crime factor here as well as all over Zone 6 (http://www.atlantapd.org/zone6.aspx) and city-wide. Also, granted, a majority (as a rule) of these victims are visitors to our neighborhood as opposed to residents, and this emphasizes the responsibility that we all have to warn our guests to clean out their cars before enjoying time here. Our vibrant hospitality and retail business has a large responsibility here in warning visitors – either verbally or by signs on front doors. The customer that goes back to their car to find a broken window and a loss of personal property may never return – as well as going back to Doraville, Dunwoody or Douglasville and telling all of their friends and neighbors what a dangerous neighborhood VaHi is. It’s that simple. APD has a warning poster (about 18″x24″) and if you are interested in placing such a sign at your business – let me know and I will order enough to be placed all over the neighborhood.

APD statistics

To give you an idea as to the size of this crime problem – these are APD stats from just week #14 (4/1 to 4/7) of this year. In this week alone there were 181 such incidents city-wide, with 52 of these break-ins reported just here in Zone 6. Year-to-date, Zone 6 has had 448 reports of car break-ins versus 406 last year – a 10% increase. Year-to-date city-wide there have been 2158 reports versus 2210 last year – a paltry 2% decrease. Another way to look at this total city-wide year-to-date figure is to assume that it will take at least 15 minutes ( a bare minimum) for the responding officer to handle an investigation and write up a report – this translates to about 540 hours devoted so far this year to this crime – 540 hours that could have been spent patrolling. Yeah, I know that there are those cars that are broken into with nothing taken and without anything showing to tempt the thief – but these are the exception, not the rule. To see for yourself these figures as well as all of the rest of the city stats – go to http://www.atlantapd.org/crimedatadownloads.aspx

I feel sure that the folks who are reading this report are not the ones who are leaving their laptop on the front seat – but PLEASE, pass this on to your friends and neighbors who are guilty of not cleaning out their cars. We are the ones who can control and lower the stats on this crime category.

Clean Car Campaign

The first “clean out your car” reminder banner is now hanging in the California Auto Buff parking lot at Virginia and North Highland Avenues. I strongly urge other business owners with parking lots to order copies of this banner to remind your patrons to clean out their cars before visiting your business. That patron who leaves your business to find their car window smashed is not a good candidate for a return visit. You can order your own banner at Rapid Signs at Ford Factory Square on PDL Avenue – the 3×8 size is $100 and a smaller 3×6 size is $80. Consider this an investment to protect your business future. A gently worded warning sign on your front door is also a good idea – that you can print out on your computer. About 3/4 of our many, many smash and grab victims are our guests from outside of VaHi.

VaHi Clean Car Campaign

In an attempt to help stem the continuing flood of car break-ins that plagues our neighborhood, I have arranged with Rapid Sign Systems at Ford Factory Square to print up banners as a reminder to both local and visiting vehicle drivers to clean out their cars before parking in our local lots and streets. The attachment is the basic design for the banner, the first of which will soon be going up at the California Auto Buff location at Virginia and North Highland Avenues. I now challenge the rest of our local businesses to order and install these in their parking lots -mindful that the customer who leaves their restaurant/bar/or retail store to find their car broken into may just very well be a customer who never returns. The price for the 3X8 size is $100 and the 3X6 size is $80.

The lead line could be changed to use your business name if you prefer. This could be a very worthwhile investment in the continuing success of your business. These will also be very useful in residential parking lots of apartment and condo buildings. These banners need to be seen all along PDL Avenue, North Highland Avenue, Virginia Avenue, PDL Place, and Monroe Drive in our many commercial area parking areas. The banners are printed on heavy vinyl complete with grommet holes for hanging. I searched our Atlanta sign ordinances and these seem to be permitted as long as they are on private property and are not obstructing anything. Rapid Sign’s phone number is 404-874-0010 if you have questions about ordering.

One of our Street Captains has also suggested yard signs with the same sort of message to place along residential streets where our visitors park. This is a terrific idea, and may well be the second prong of this campaign – we will need to find a method of funding though.

Safety Team Report 2/7/09

My Bad Experience

This past week I had a personal computer crash, and I lost a lot of stored material. If you e-mailed me from 2/2 to 2/6 and have not gotten a response – please resend. Also, I lost a lot of names on our distribution list – so if you are a Street Captain and hopefully seeing this on our neighborhood yahoo groups – please contact me so I can get your address plugged in again. Hopefully, this will not happen again, as the computer guy who set up my new tower also installed a mozy backup system. This is what happens when you have an elderly technologically challenged person as your public safety chair.

North Highland Benches

The relatively new streetscape benches on North Highland Avenue are being vandalized and damzged by someone late at nite. If you have any knowledge of this destruction, please call 911 and make a report. These benches are expensive, and the civic association has already replaced the one in front of Moes and Joes.

Street Captains

The VaHi streets west of Monroe Drive are still not covered by Street Captains, and if you know someone who would be good candidates for Amsterdam Walk, Elmwood Drive, Cresthill Avenue, Orme Circle or Park Drive – please let me know at safety@vahi.org

Clean Car Campaign

This important initiative is being rolled out at the Monday, February 9th Midtown safety meeting at 7 at Redeemer Lutheran church at 4th and Peachtree Streets. We need to continually be reminding our city visitors and residents alike to keep cars cleaned out of “stuff”. Most of our smash and grabs here in VaHi seem to involve out-of-neighborhood visitors now – so that tells me our bars and restaurants need to be doing a better job of warning their patrons.

Crime reports from APD

The following crime stats for weeks 4 and 5 of 2009 are gleaned from our Zone 6 reports, with specific emphasis on our beat # 603, but news of surrounding areas as it affects us. As you read these, keep in mind how you can alter your daily routines to avoid being being a victim of crime.

Aggravated Assault – On 1/26 at 10 p.m. a North Highland female resident was struck in the face with a stick as she attempted to break up a fight between 2 men – one was arrested. I do not know who the victim was, but hope she was not seriously injured.

Auto Theft – Cars were stolen from PDL Place, Rosedale Drive, Virginia Circle, and a car on Virginia Avenue had the ignition damaged in a foiled attempt. A scooter was stolen from Frederica Street. Three more trailers were stolen – one from Rosedale Drive, one from Hillpine Drive in Morningside and one from Waverly Way in Inman Park. If you have a trailer – I would consider hiding it in the back yard if possible, rather than leaving it on the street or in
your driveway.

Commercial Burglary – Another unit was broken into at the Public Storage facility on Monroe Drive in Piedmont Heights. Cooks Warehouse in Amsterdam Walk was entered through a smashed glass front door. A flat screen tv set was stolen from the patio of the Diesel restaurant. Maddy Cakes on Piedmont Road was entered via a smashed side window, then from there the thieves broke through the interior wall into the Marvelous Dog store.

Commercial Robbery – My Dry Cleaner on Moreland Avenue in L5P was robbed on 1/29 at 3 p.m. with cash taken from the register. I understand this robber has been caught. At the PDL Avenue Kroger on 1/27 at 6:25 a.m. a perp approached an employee and demanded money from the register – the employee stated the register was not open, only the u-scan line being open. The perp gave him a dumbfounded look and walked out of the store.

Larceny From Auto – Cars were broken into on Amsterdam Avenue (2), Amsterdam Walk, Drewry Street, Los Angeles Avenue, PDL Avenue (2), and Virginia Avenue. Of these 8 smash and grabs – 7 of the car owners were from outside of VaHi. There was also a smash and grab in the Best Buy parking lot at Edgewood at 3 p.m. No – all of these incidents do not happen after dark. Around all of Zone 6 for these two weeks, there were 12 GPS systems taken, 4 in-dash stereo/radios ripped out, 3 license plates were taken off, one revolver added to the arsenal on the streets, and another incident of tires/wheels being taken off.

Larceny Other – A laptop was missing after a party at a Monroe Drive residence. At Highland Hardware a portable steel bridge and 20 steel drain grates were taken – more scrap metal thievery? The PDL Avenue Kroger and Publix stores caught 5 shoplifters and the Edgewood Target caught 5 also. The Edgewood Kroger also caught a male shoplifter with two bottles of champagne in his pants. A North Highland Avenue resident alleged a visitor took money from her residence. A locked bicycle was taken from the bike rack at the PDL Avenue Publix. On Virginia Avenue a Rolex watch was taken by a visitor to the apartment.

Pedestrian Robbery – An h/m was robbed at gunpoint on Lenox Road at 10 p.m. by two b/m. A female was robbed at gunpoint on 1/31 at 9:20 a.m. in the PDL Avenue Kroger parking lot. At the Edgewood Kroger parking lot on 1/27 at 2:50 a.m. an a/f was robbed by 3 b/m and 1 b/f – when she didn’t have any money – they took her groceries and fled by car.

Residential Burglary – On Virginia Avenue entry was made through an unsecured front door. All across Zone 6, 27 residences were entered via kicked-in doors.