A VaHi resident was verbally assaulted in New Highland Park recently. Feeling threatened and harassed, she called APD, which unfortunately failed to respond to the call. The resident and her friends left the park feeling violated and unprotected. The resident has formally complained to APD and the VHCA also called APD. The Zone Commander has promised an investigation and reply, the results of which we will be glad to post when they are available.
These events are unacceptable. The resident did exactly the right thing in calling the police herself at the time of the incident. New Highland Park was purchased, founded, and is maintained by the VHCA, but ownership is not a factor with respect to this situation; threats and harassment are not protected on private or public property.
If you are involved in such an incident, please call 911 immediately. In addition, if you see or hear of such incidents in our neighborhood, the VHCA Parks Committee and Safety Committee want to know. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com, respectively. You are very welcome to call me directly at 404-454-6892 – but only after calling 911 first. This is true even if you have departed or thought the issue was not grave, as this one was. Reporting helps us work with APD and helps APD concentrate its efforts where needed.
In our experience, APD generally responds promptly to calls. This winter, a resident living near Inman Middle School called to report odd behavior on APS property. She also called the police, who arrived promptly and handled the situation. However, there are exceptions, like this situation in New Highland Park. I have been fortunate in two recent cases. When I called APD, the person whose behavior I reported left abruptly. But it doesn’t always happen that way, as this weekend’s events demonstrate.
We also want to know if you see evidence of people sleeping in the park overnight – firstname.lastname@example.org or Jack White (404) 454-6892. The police will handle such cases if someone is present, but if property has been left behind, we will address it. Removing abandoned property typically discourages repetitive behavior.
The lights are now on overnight in North Highland Park, with additional shading installed to accommodate nearby residents. The rules are posted, and the adjacent residents are organized and actively watching. Please join them in letting us know what you see.
We can’t eliminate all the challenges that go with living in a major urban area, but we can and do try to manage them energetically. The police – with their arrest and enforcement powers – are a key part of that. They have always been concerned and responsive, and we consider this most recent incident an anomaly. Please share with us your experiences; we’ll share their response.
~ Jack White, VHCA Board President