Virginia-Highland Safety Team Report: December 10, 2012

By: John Wolfinger

The Continuing Fulton County Jail Dilemma

December 5th saw yet another Fulton County Commissioner’s meeting where the funding for new Fulton County Jail cell locks went down the drain, and in the meantime the safety of both jail staff and inmates is in danger, due to old and shoddy cell locks now in use. This time the vote was 3 – 3 about funding the new lock system – voting against the funding proposal (about $5 million) was Emma Darnell, Rob Pitts and Bill Edwards. The person that could purportedly have passed the bill was Tom Lowe who was over 3 hours late for the meeting and did not vote. To her credit, our district 6 commissioner, Joan Garner, voted for the proposal. Commission Chair John Eaves was quoted in the AJC – stating “Even if it’s not a prerogative to get off the consent decree, it is a safety issue that’s important to protecting the lives of people. To me, when you know there’s a problem and you don’t do anything to correct the problem, we become the problem.” Fixing the lock problem is one of the main issues left that still leaves our county jail under a federal court consent decree, which has been on-going for years.  Unfortunately, this entire article does not have a link to it, so I can’t share it with you if you missed it.  http://www.ajc.com/photo/news/local-govt-politics/fulton-proposal-to-fix-jail-locks-fails/pmMK9/  E-mail addresses for all commissioners are at  http://www.fultoncountyga.gov/commissioners  by clicking on their pictures, if you would like to express your concern about coming to a solution on this jail consent decree problem and letting Sheriff Ted Jackson run the jail without a federal judge looking over his shoulder.

The Charles Echols Sentencing Hearing

This serial burglar that had VaHi, Morningside and Midtown on edge in August til his capture on 8/22 was sentenced to 15 years in prison last week. The story that has the narrative meticulously prepared by our own VaHi CourtWatcher David Berl is at  http://vahi.patch.com/articles/serial-criminal-put-away-for-15-years-462f2b1d   CourtWatch played an important part in this sentence with statements from many of the victims.

Piedmont Park Safety Alert!

The latest issue of the Midtown Ponce Security Alliance has a story about a serious sexual incident in Piedmont Park.  Read it at http://www.midtownponce.org/p3848.html

Zone 6 Santa Claus Plans

Major Meadows and the men and women of APD Zone 6 would like to spread some holiday cheer to Zone 6 boys and girls in need. Bring new unwrapped toys to Zone 6 headquarters at 2025 Hosea Williams Drive, SE, ATL 30317 in Kirkwood before 12/18 between the weekday hours of 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., or contact me and I’ll be glad to take them to Zone 6 for you.

A Couple of Interesting Videos

A MARTA safety video at  http://clatl.com/freshloaf/archives/2012/11/20/marta-safety-video-is-arguably-the-most-realistic-depiction-of-riding-transit-ever-made.

And, a good seasonal video from Watershed Management http://youtu.be/5mKtjdAxG7M.  Love the truckfull of happy sewer guys at the end.

Our Safe Address Delivery Program

Once again, I will repeat that we have had for several years now a free safe address program for your intended UPS and FedEx packages. Just stop by Highland Wine and Crystal, Intown Hardware, CityStorage or Urban Body (PDL Place location) and sign up for this free program – then you can use their address to insure your package will be held for you until you pick it up. It is so easy to eliminate front porch package thefts.

The following reports have been gleaned from our APD Zone 6 (http://www.atlantapd.org/Zone6.aspx) crime stats for the 2012 weeks of 45, 46, and 47 (11/4 to 11/24) with emphasis on our VaHi Beat 601, but with news from around the whole 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.

Aggravated Assault  -  There was quite a ruckus in the 800 block of Adair Avenue on 11/21 at 3 a.m. involving several folks who evidently all knew each other, with alcohol usage playing a major part in this scenario. One victim was sent to Atlanta Medical Center and at least 3 arrests were made for disorderly conduct, obstruction of EMT personnel and battery.

Nearby in Candler Park on Iverson Street at 1:45 p.m. a bicyclist was hit by a passing car whose driver was upset at not being able to pass the two-wheeler – the bicyclist refused medical attention.The law states a motorized must leave three feet between the cyclist and the vehicle.

Auto Theft  -  No reported incidents in Beat 601. This is the first time in a LONG time that I have not reported auto thefts. This is good!

Auto Theft Recovery  -  No such reports from Beat 601.

Commercial Burglary  -  The China Dragon restaurant on PDL Avenue was entered via a broken front window.

Residential Burglary  -  No reported incidents in Beat 601

Commercial Robbery  -  No reported incidents in Beat 60. However, nearby at the Pizza Hut on North Avenue @ Boulevard at 9:10 a.m. an employee was counting out cash for a bank deposit when he was robbed at gunpoint.  The robber entered and left via a secured door with a pass code entry system.  An inside job??  Time for a new staff?

Residential Robbery  -  No reported incidents in Beat 601.

Larceny From Vehicle  -  Vehicles were violated on PDL Avenue (5), PDL Place (3), Rupley Drive, Briarcliff Road (2), North Highland Avenue (3), Amsterdam Avenue, Greenwood Avenue, and St. Charles Avenue.  Of these 17 incidents – two involved license plates being taken.

Larceny Other  -  A front porch package theft was reported from Drewry Street, a purse was stolen from a person serving food at Druid Hills Presbyterian Church,  Chow Baby! restaurant on PDL Avenue had a walk-out without payment and an unwatched cell phone was taken at a PDL Avenue bar.

Around the Zone – cell phone snatches abound – enough said???  And another craigslist story – the victimized buyer met a cell phone “seller” in the Edgewood Retail District parking lot at 8:30 p.m. and as soon as he showed his cash – it was grabbed and the perp ran.  A Glenwood Avenue gas station reported a loss of 5841 gallons of gas over a weekend as per inventory measurements.  It is suspected that gas was siphoned out of the underground tanks via the main entry point to these tanks, and no employees reported seeing anything!!  Then the next day this same gas station lost 195 gallons of gas that was stolen by prying open the cover of the pump and by- passing the monitoring valve.  Time for a whole new, more observant staff at this station??  Tis the season for shoplifting – our PDL Avenue Kroger and Publix stores caught 5, the Edgewood Target caught 7 and the Publix and Walgreens at Piedmont @ North Avenues caught 7 also.

Homicide  -  No reported incidents in Beat 601.

But across the street, the much publicized killing at Ford Factory Lofts on 11/12 at 5:07 p.m. This is still an active investigation.

Pedestrian Robbery  -  A lone female was robbed at gunpoint on Greenwood Avenue near the BeltLine of her cell phone at 6:10 p.m.  Two victims were robbed in a North Highland Avenue parking lot near Amsterdam Avenue just after midnite of the contents of their pockets.  The lone perp fled on foot after staring at them for a brief moment.

Nearby a lone pedestrian was attacked and robbed of his cellphone at gunpoint as he was entering a taxi at 2:26 a.m. in the Ford Factory parking lot.  Two pedestrians were robbed at gunpoint on Flat Shoals Avenue in East Atlanta Village at 4 a.m.  Two pedestrians were robbed at gunpoint in the Edgewood Kroger parking lot at 2:26 a.m.  There were two separate such incidents within a short period of time at around 11:30 p.m. in the parking lot of a Piedmont Avenue apartment complex.

This past weekend I really enjoyed taking tickets at house # 6 on the VaHi Tour of Homes, and meeting many of you folks I have only met via e-mail before. I have not yet heard of any safety incidents this past weekend to tour-goers, which is good. The worst problem I know of was at the # 6 house on Kentucky Avenue where two pairs of similar women’s brown shoes got mixed up. If anyone got a pair of these shoes that are not the right size, I can connect you with the other shoe owner via her phone number. Both of these ladies had to walk the rest of the tour in shoes that did not fit. I also got a lot of good words about Street Captains and how well they kept their streets connected and informed.

Stay alert and aware all during this busy holiday season. Use common sense and keep ALL parked cars cleaned out at ALL times even when shopping. If you are going to more than one store from the same parking lot and want to stash bags from one store before going to another – leave the lot away from prying eyes, put packages in your trunk and then go back to resume shopping. Yeah – a little inconvenient – but so is a smashed window and no packages at all.

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