Safety Team Report 3/6/09

Virginia Highland Scores A Win!!

Recently I was contacted by an APD Officer who wanted to perform some extra patrol time as a volunteer, giving back to his city. We are the winner, as he selected us for his generous offer!! His name is Officer Terence Alexander, and you will recognize him walking our streets, not only from his uniform and orange APD vest – but from his ear-to-ear smile. To begin with, he will be walking along North Highland Avenue from PDL Avenue to Amsterdam Avenue, in late afternoon-early evening, looking for problems along this important pedestrian route. He has promised to stop into businesses and introduce himself, and if you are a restaurant owner, and if he looks like he might be hungry – you know what to offer. His patrols will be on a random basis, which is good, as he hopes to make some arrests as he patrols. Be sure to return his smile as you encounter him on the street and welcome him to VaHi.

CourtWatch Training Saturday Morning

This is your chance to learn more than you ever dreamed about the inner workings of our Fulton County justice system from the folks who are in the Court House every day. This session will run from 9 a.m. til noon, March 7th, in the Justice Center building at 185 Central Avenue, S.W. downtown. Parking is convenient at the Underground garage on MLK or get off the train at 5 Points. Go to courtwatch@fultoncountyga.gov for more info. Learn what happens to our criminals after our APD folks make an arrest and see how this system works or doesn’t work – depending on all the variables involved. This is a real eye-opening session and you, as involved citizens, need to understand this vital part of our total crime problem.

Our New Parkland

I have recently learned that our newly acquired future parkland at North Highland Avenue at St. Charles Place is being used as an ad hoc parking lot. Granted, we have a long road ahead to transform this land to a park – but parking is NOT part of the plan. If you are a business owner nearby and you suspect your patrons are parking here – please ask them to move. The recent rains are going to make this a mud lot and ruin the grass cover. We may have to post this area for towing, if this problem continues.

The Briarcliff Summit building

This past week, I attended a resident’s meeting in this beleaguered apartment building, and really got an eyeful (and earful) as to living and safety conditions. I hope and intend to be involved in some sort of an improvement program – but really need some advisory help from you folks. I am not necessarily asking for folks to attend meetings with me – but I need e-mail advice from folks who are versed in HUD, Section 8, social services and other related aspects of senior citizen/handicapped housing, as I put togther a plan of action for myself. And, yes, in case you have been hearing rumors, there was a homicide in this building a few days ago. It was not a stranger-on-stranger crime, but a homicide nonetheless, and a life was taken. The perp has been arrested. I hope to help make some sort of a difference in the living conditions of the residents – but I do need some advisory help. Let me know at safety@vahi.org as to how you can help me. These folks are our neighbors, and need a safe place to live.

Crime reports from APD

The following crime information is for weeks # 8 and 9 of 2009, and is gleaned from our APD Zone 6 reports, with emphasis on our Beat # 603, but with news from around the Zone as it applies to us in our everyday lives. This report is not meant to scare anyone, but to give you a chance to alter your daily activities to avoid being the victim of criminal activity. No – we can’t always avoid crime, but informed and alert folks are far safer in the long run.

Auto Theft – Trailer thefts continue – this time the vehicle attached was also taken at a work site on Lenox Road. Scooter/motorcycle thefts also continue with ones being stolen on PDL Avenue, PDL Place, Greenwood Avenue, and even an inoperable motorcycle from St. Charles Avenue. As a warning, a car was stolen from a driveway on Custer Avenue, S.E. while the resident was unloading groceries – but unfortunately left it running in the process.

Commercial Burglary – Lenox Park Cleaners was entered through a smashed front glass, as was the Green Sprout restaurant on Piedmont Avenue, and Half Moon Outfitters on North Highland Avenue. Two different units were entered and robbed at the storage facility on Monroe Drive in Piedmont Heights. Vocalicity offices on Virginia Avenue lost 20 laptops and a cleaning person is suspected, since there was no forced entry.

Larceny From Auto – Smash and grabs were reported on Arlington Place, Briarcliff Place, Lanier Boulevard, Virginia Avenue (3), North Highland Avenue, St, Augustine Place, Vance Avenue, Greenwood Avenue (2), and PDL Avenue. Of these 12 incidents – 10 of the victims were from outside of our neighborhood. If you are in the local hospitality or retail business – please remember the Clean Car Campaign, and gently warn your patrons to clean out their cars before dining/drinking/shopping at your business. Also, if you have visitors in your home – give them the same message. Crime victims are not going to think highly of our neighborhood. All around total Zone 6, SEVENTEEN GPS systems were stolen, 2 in-dash radios were ripped out, 2 more catalytic converters were sawed off, 4 license plates were taken off, and two weapons/ammo thefts were reported. Also – would you buy a stethoscope from a guy on Ponce or Boulevard – one was stolen in this time period and is certainly for sale somewhere.

Larceny Other – A patron’s purse was looted at the Local Bar on PDL Avenue, the PDL Blockbuster reported a shoplifter who escaped, and yet another female shopper at the Edgewood Kroger had a checkbook stolen from an unwatched shopping cart purse. Checks were also stolen from a mailbox in Kirkwood. Pick up your new check order at the bank – don’t have them mailed to you!! Our PDL Avenue Kroger and Publix stores caught 2 shoplifters, and the Edgewood Target caught 3 illegal shoppers (wonder how many these stores did not catch?).

Pedestrian Robbery – On 2/21 at 1:50 a.m. in the parking lot of the Club Jungle on Faulkner Road, a lone female victim, talking on her cell phone in her vehicle, was robbed at gunpoint. Quite obviously her car door was not locked with the window rolled down, and who the heck was she talking to at 1:50 a.m.? Also on 2/21 at 1:30 a.m. a lone male exiting his car, was robbed at gunpoint in his apartment parking lot on Piedmont Avenue.

Residential Burglary – A door was kicked in to gain entry at a LaVista Road apartment. On Bonaventure Avenue, an apartment was entered via a pried open back door. A Los Angeles Avenue garage was easily entered through an open door. A Briarcliff Road apartment had a smashed window – but nothing taken. On St. Charles Avenue, the front door was pried open, with a hand gun stolen to add to the arsenal on the streets. And on St. Louis Place, a side window was pried open for entry. All around total Zone 6 for this time period – entry was made via kicked-in doors to 9 residences.

Help Wanted

As I filled out my goals for the 2009 strategy plan report for the civic association, I fully realize I need some help to achieve my goals. I need folks to step up and assume responsibility for the following areas to help make this a safer, cleaner, more aware and connected neighborhood –
1. Produce another successful National Night Out event (time to be determined yet by the national organization)
2. Hold another successful Street Captain training and informational meeting
3. Organize a graffiti and trash patrol group to keep our neighborhood clean and inviting
4. Organize a traffic/sidewalk/parking/transportation committee
Of course, I will work with and provide guidance for all of these activities – but I can’t be a one-man committee to achieve these goals for this year. Thanx already to David Rein for stepping up to try to figure out a way to produce a crime-mapping system for the neighborhood. Again, I am at safety@vahi.org

If you were among the several thousand folks who were not at Anne Fauver’s Town Hall meeting this past week – you missed a terrific and informative session as to the current financial state of our city and public safety concerns. I’ll be posting things I learned that nite in future reports. I don’t want this report to become too long.

Be alert and be safe!!

John

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