Important Town Hall Meeting Concerning Crime & Safety

Mayor Kasim Reed will be hosting a Public Safety & Crime Watch Town Hall Meeting this Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at 6:00 p.m.

Public Safety & Crime Watch Town Hall Meeting
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
6:00 p.m.
Grace United Methodist Church
458 Ponce de Leon Ave NE (corner of Charles Allen)
Atlanta, GA 30308

There will be a Q & A session, but if you’d like to submit your question in advance, please email


APD Officials Listen and Respond to Resident Safety Concerns

IMG_0560The first portion of this month’s regular meeting of the VHCA held on April 13th was devoted to a special discussion of neighborhood safety.  District 6 Councilperson Alex Wan (who organized the meeting and arranged the speakers), APD Asst. Chief Shawn Jones, Deputy Chief Joseph Spillane, Zone 6 Commander Timothy Peek, and other officers made presentations, listened to resident concerns, and spent over an hour answering a wide range of questions.

While acknowledging the well-publicized instances of violent crime in and around Beat 601 that have caught everyone’s attention, the presenters pointed out that violent crime – murders, rapes, robberies and burglaries – is down in our beat when compared with last year, which itself had low numbers.  What is not down is the level of vehicle break-ins; officers encouraged residents and visitors to remove anything of value from parked cars and pointed out that among the items stolen from cars recently were seven handguns.

IMG_0563One resident pointed out that her knowledge of crime came at least in part from social media and asked about actual statistics. VHCA Safety Chair Peggy Berg and Board member Jess Windham graphed the last six years of stats for Beat 601 (solely and entirely composed of VaHi) and prepared and distributed a handout of those numbers at the meeting.  (They may be viewed here on our website, and we will update them monthly as we receive new data from APD.)

The officials thanked residents who told stories of calling 911 when they saw something suspicious, and encouraged everyone in attendance to do the same if they find themselves in a similar situation.  They explained the priority system that governs response to calls and provided average response times for all categories.  They reminded, urged, and pled with citizens not to intervene in crimes being committed, but to call APD.

IMG_0561Officials also commented that common traits of neighborhoods that effectively fight crime are neighborhood watches like the two-decade old one in VaHi. If you are not currently connected with your local Street Captain, please contact

Several speakers were critical of the county role in dealing with juvenile offenders and thought sentences were too light.  Another viewed the problem of keeping criminals off the street as a multifaceted one.  Police, prosecutors, judges, and the state (which runs prisons) all have a role in ensuring that the most dangerous and predatory of criminals are successfully caught, prosecuted, and incarcerated.

What was abundantly clear is that APD is highly informed as to the location and frequency of crimes, with data coming in and being analyzed constantly. The department’s ability and willingness to respond and shift resources around on an hourly and daily basis was impressive.

We appreciate the time and energy that the whole department expends on this effort, and the presentation ended with a warm ovation from neighbors.  We thank all those at APD and Councilmember Wan for the work they do and for making the evening possible.

Click here to view a video of the meeting in its entirety.

Click here for information on participating in the CourtWatch program.

Click here for a link to the Christian Science Monitor article on the Atlanta Police Department referenced by a resident who spoke at the meeting.


Virginia-Highland Safety Team Report: October 2, 2012

By: John Wolfinger

A busy couple of weeks ahead with special events, so make your driving plans accordingly.  First of all is the Breast Cancer Walk with 800 walking ladies in pink costumes on 10/ 6 and 7.  They have a good time walking for a serious cause, and would like to have cheering throngs along the walk route, which John Becker of the VOICE has meticulously detailed at  Thank you John for having more patience than I do for listing all the streets involved.  This does not involve any street closings.

Then also on 10/7 is a repeat of last spring’s very successful Streets Alive here in VaHi and other neighborhoods along North Highland south of us.  Details at   This does involve the closing of North Highland and Virginia Avenues for this day only.

The Atlanta Pride festival will be 10/13 and 10/14 in Piedmont Park.  Their website at does little if anything to address traffic/parking for this event – other than to warn participants not to drive to the festival, and we all know how little this means.  Tenth Street will have one lane closing next to the park for Friday, Saturday and Sunday – but this street will still have other lanes for traffic except on Sunday when the parade arrives at the park.  The festival organizers have told me to advise using 911 to report traffic/parking problems as usual, and these reports will be forwarded to the off-duty police working the area on motorcycles.  They will be posting the usual cardboard “No Parking ” signs on the usual streets for this time period.

I don’t think that most of the neighborhood, except for the areas abutting Piedmont Park, realize what folks near the park have to endure with the continual schedule of special events/festivals in Piedmont Park.  I went to the open house event at Fort Mac a couple of Saturdays ago hoping to learn more about the proposed dedicated festival grounds at this massive facility, but this project still seems to be years away from becoming reality.  In the meantime Piedmont Park will be over-used and abused.

Also on 10/14 is the Morningside Mile Run , but this is early in the morning and only affects North Highland Avenue, so should not be a big traffic problem.  This also is for a very good cause – our AFR Station # 19 renovation.

Officer Woolfolk on the News

I’m sure many of you remember Officer Ralph Woolfolk who succeded Officer Joe Cooper on the evening watch  (3 to 11 p.m.) here.  After he left us he was assigned to the Boulevard Strike Force, but has now moved on to the COPS division ( ).  Thanx to Kay Stephenson for alerting me to a channel 11 news clip – featuring Woolfolk at Turner Field last week – he’s a natural on TV, and represented APD well.

October St. Charles/Highland Business Area Cleanup

Go to  for details on this newly formed group dedicated to making our business districts cleaner and more inviting both to residents and to our many, many visitors.  Sign up on this Facebook page to help with this ambitious project on 10/20 – especially erasing the rest of the graffiti vandalism on the back sides of the old Hilan Theater.  This would be a good way for high school kids to get some of their community service hours.  Jimmy Lee and I would welcome some younger and more agile help with the graffiti

Fulton County Court improvements

A court improvement task force has been meeting and working on suggested court improvements for a year and their results were released just last week. Their report is at  A recap is at Keeping our court system functioning smoothly is as vital to our total safety program as having a safe jail, and good law enforcement agencies in the county.

The following reports are taken from our APD Zone 6 ( crime stats for the 2012 weeks of 35 and 36 (8/26 to 9/8) and are not meant to scare anyone, but to make you aware of what happens around us everyday and to raise your level of alertness.  The emphasis is on our VaHi Beat 601, but with news from around the Zone as it applies to us.

Aggravated Assault  –  No reported incidents from Beat 601

Auto Theft  –  One vehicle taken from a parking lot on North Highland Avenue.

Auto Theft Recovery  –  No reported recoveries from Beat 601

Commercial Burglary  –  No reported incidents from Beat 601

Residential Burglary  –  A condo was entered at the Carlton on Highland Lane via a damaged front door.  A residential room at the Open Door on PDL Avenue was entered via an unlocked door (residents are not allowed to lock these doors).

Commercial Robbery  –  No reported incidents from Beat 601

Residential Robbery  –  No reported incidents from Beat 601

Larceny From Vehicle  –  Vehicles were entered on Adair Avenue, Rosedale Drive, Barnett Street, Briarcliff Road, Kanuga Street (2), North Highland Avenue and Virginia Avenue.  This category of crime continues to be a black eye on the neighborhood – if we could only get all of our neighbors and visitors to be aware of the Clean Car Campaign and clean out ALL parked cars at ALL times – this crime could be erased from our neighborhood stats.  This is such an easy crime to prevent – yet every week we have such incidents.

Larceny Other  –  Tools and building supplies were taken from a Greenwood Avenue carport.  The seat and rear wheel of a chained bicycle were taken from in front of a North Highland Avenue building.  Another chained bicycle was stolen by cutting the chain on a St. Charles Avenue apartment deck.  Hide those bicycles when not in use.

Unwatched cell phones and purses continue to be stolen around the Zone.  An unwatched wallet was taken from an under-the-chair purse at Pure restaurant on North Highland Avenue in Inman Park.  A cell phone was snatched from the table of an unnamed North Highland Avenue restaurant in Inman Park – the perp was caught but without the phone. At 10:40 a.m. at the traffic lite at Parkway and North Avenue – a thief reached into a car and stole a cell phone.

A concertgoer at the Masquerade on North Avenue had his I-pad stolen – the victim traced it via a cell phone and the perp was arrested by MARTA police.

Pedestrian Robbery  –  At 1:40 a.m. on PDL Avenue near PDL Place a lone male was approached by 2 males – one put a gun to his head and the other went thru his pockets taking the usual wallet, cell phone, etc.  The perps fled on foot northward on PDL Place.

Yes – since the time period of this report we have had 3 other pedestrian robberies on residential streets (Drewry Street, Greenwood Avenue and PDL Terrace), but I do not have the reports on two of the incidents yet, so will wait til I can report them all in detail at once.  In the meantime, be alert, aware, and report to 911 any and all suspicious persons or vehicles (See Something – Say Something) .  Keep cell phones hidden from view and especially do NOT walk and talk or text at the same time – this activity is just asking for trouble (unfortunately).

Enjoy all of the upcoming festivals and special events in this wonderful fall weather, by staying alert.


In memoriam — Mike Moloo

The night of Thursday, August 16 Mike Moloo, owner of the ATL Food Mart at 730 Barnett Street between St. Charles and Ponce de Leon Avenues, was shot and killed outside the store during an apparent robbery.
The VHCA joins the many residents and friends of Mr. Moloo in their shock and sadness at this  tragedy. Memorial vigil at the store (at 730 Barnett) at 8 PM on Sunday, August 19th.
We offer our heartfelt condolences to his wife and three children.   A memorial fund has been established to help them. There is also a memorial page on Facebook.


Residential Break-ins

We have had relatively few of these break-ins lately, but please do not let down your guard in keeping your home secure this summer. The Morningside Patrol reported 3 such break-ins earlier this month on Cumberland Circle, North Highland Avenue, Helen Drive and Piedmont Heights reported a break-in on Rock Springs Road. Keep up the good work at reporting to 911 suspicious persons and activity – we are the extra eyes and ears of APD and you never know when the unusual thing you observe and report may save you or your neighbor from becoming a victim.

Keep ALL doors and windows locked at ALL times and keep your security system activated. If you are going to be away on vacation – let your trusted neighbors know of your plans, and stop the mail and newspaper deliveries.

Note the two residential burglaries in this report. The Greenwood Avenue incident implies to me that the rear window was not locked, since the screen was removed to reach the window. The Park Drive incident says to me that since the back door window was broken – the thief just reached in to open the door and then the front door was found unlocked and ajar. This tells me that this homeowner did not have double locks on these doors. I learned the hard way many years ago to have door locks that require a key on both sides of the door. My thief just broke the back door window and reached in to open my door.


Voice – Spring 2011

Download PDF here (1.6 MB)

– Tree planting
– Neighborhood responds to recent crime wave
– Volunteers
– Orme Park construction
– Sidewalks/walkability
– FBAC doubles patrol area
– Home Tour success
– Graffiti task force update
– History Part X


Voice – Fall 1994

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– The Greening of the Neighborhood, by Stephanie Coffin, co-chair Parks
– SummerFest ’94, by Arnold Gross
– President’s Corner, incl. “the croissanting of VaHi”, by J.D. Christy
– Summerfest 1994 financial report (pre-tax profit $36,242)
– Post office changes inside and out, by Shelley Scher
– Bike Stuff, by Mike Goodman
– St. Charles-Greenwood proposed downzoning spawns task force, by Melanie Davenport
– Environmental potpourri, by Nan Hunter
– Highland herbalist: Tarragon
Col. Mustard reviews and ranks seven places to have “a fancy cup of coffee”: Virginia’s Koffie House, San Francisco, The Dessert Place, Red Light Café, Chef, Aurora, and Highland Coffee
– Tips from the trade: profile of The Herb Shop Prevention Center
– Helping children at risk (for crime; discusses “CAR” program), by Paula Miller
– John Howell Park project, by Tinka Green
– A shopping tail (bringing your pets with you shopping), by Shelley Scher
VaHi security patrol update (neighborhood-wide patrol was not started), by Beth Marks


Voice – Fall 1993

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– Summerfest contest was a piece of art
– My home, my castle and my office (profile of residents who work at home), by Deborah Cox
– Crime down sharply in FBAC area
– More B.S. (that’s bike stuff), by Michael Goodman
– Col. Mustard reviews Red Light Café at Amsterdam Walk
Full text of updated VHCA bylaws
Olympic trees, going for the green. Profile of Stephanie Coffin and her tree planting. By Kathy Couch
– Recycle today, by Nan Hunter
– John Howell Park fundraising update, by Jerry Bright
– Kidsfest successful 3rd straight year
– By-laws committee completes its work


Voice – Spring 1993

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– Property tax season: VaHi is on first list (of assessment mailings) to homeowners
Friend, board member (Ed Neal) passed away
– President’s Corner: Summerfest success, DOT property on Ponce (now The Carlton condos, ed.) released, Murphy’s still in court
– Bicycles Require Care, Maintenance, Year Round Many Adjustments will Require Bike Mechanic, by Mike Goodman
– Your City Council, By Sheilll Martin-Brown, councilperson-at-larg
– Remember Your 3 R’s… Redvce. Reuse. Recycle. By Nan Hunter
– Parking Survey Received Huge Response, by Jett Marks
Piedmont Park has Become the Main Course on the Table, by Kathy Couch
– Gardening Volunteers Can Gain Hours for a Chance to Volunteer forthe 1996 Olympics, by Kathy Couch
– VaHi Can’t Flee from the Crime without Everyone’s Help, by Joyce Gross
– Don’t Be Shy To Your Own Neighborhood, by J .D. Christy, VP VHCA
– Col. Mustard reviews American Roadhouse
– Suitable Site For CSO (combined sewer overflow) Still Under Debate, by Jett Marks
Sidewalks throughout the Virginia- Highland area are due for a facelift, by Ellen Kates


Voice – Winter 1992

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– VHCA amends its bylaws
– Parking survey opinion
– Planning Summerfest ’93
– Get “street smart” about safe bicycling
– Officially speaking: Handgun control, by Mayor Maynard Jackson
– Recycle today: save your “waste”, by Nan Hunter
– Home sweet Virginia-Highland home: portrait of longtime residents, by Jeni Evans
– John Howell Park renovation plans still under review, by Jerry Bright
– Col. Mustard reviews Neighbors Pub
– You can HELP! (fight crime), by Joyce Gross
– Neighborhood profile: Inman Middle School, by Betty Wells and Joan Walters
– Neighbors join to protect our streets: how to get off-duty police patrol coverage for your block, by Yvette Weatherly
– Crime statistics
– Personal safety tips from Pro-Tech Security Systems
– Learn about composting
– Traffic islands get make-over by Kathy Couch
– Parking survey


Voice – Fall 1991

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– The taming of Piedmont Park – traffic and illegal activity around perimeter of park
– Piedmont Park’s combined sewer overflow controversy – the anatomy of a setback, by I. E. Saporta, architect
– Letter to the editor by Ruthie and Tom Penn-David in cautious support of Summerfest (and not “Drunkfest”)
– A day in the life of Orme Park, by Vicky Favorite and Yvonne Weatherly
– Summerfest opinion – residents and businesses speak out
– Adopted highway “Ponce” needs your help
– Moving right along with (John Howell Park) plans, by Jerry Bright
– Schools update
– What a weekend! Summerfest ’91. Over $2100 raised!
– Doing your share: recycling is so easy in VaHi, by Nan Hunter
– Carefree vacations, by Maggie Baron
– Library forced to reduce hours, services, by Kathy Couch
– The new YWCA offers relief, renewal, by Vicky Favorite
– Report to taxpayers on financial issues affecting the Atlanta Public Schools, by Joseph G. Martin, Jr., president
– Morningside PTA fundraiser has something for everyone, by Ginny Connelly
– Home Alone: Security for children with working parents, by Ken Lavine
– Better bicycling


Voice – Fall 1990

Special issue dedicated to understanding and improving Ponce de Leon Avenue

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  • Annual meeting (photo) and results
  • America’s Stop Crime Program to speak
  • Ponce de Leon Task Force sets goals for Ponce Corridor
  • Union Mission will not pursue acquisition of building in 900 block of Ponce
  • Neighborhood school achieve many honors
  • Friends of the Library
  • Pastor of Baptist Church introduces himself
  • The Compost Man
  • Recycling Update
  • Interview with Ed Loring of Open Door on Ponce
  • Grassroots effort to improve Ponce
  • How I handle a stranger at my door
  • Parks and recreation
  • Sidewalk repair
  • Survey of inexpensive hotels along Ponce
  • Neighborhood watch, “if you hear a whistle blowing”
  • D.O.T property at St. Charles
  • Would a burglar find your home attractive?

Ad for Murphy's, Virginia-Highland Voice, August 1990


Voice – Summer 1990

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– Meet with the Police about forming a PAC (Partnership against Crime)
– Neighbor profile: Joyce Gross, VHCAA head of public safety
– The VOICE says fight crime
– VOICE mission statement
– Summerfest 1990
– Preservation update, by Nina Gentry
– Council of Intown Neighbors and Schools (CINS), by Barbara Van Dyke
– Ponce de Leon taskforce, by Susan Carroll
– VaHi’s annual St. Patrick’s Day 5K Road Race
– The Voice wants to announce the results of your efforts to thwart crime (streets with neighborhood watches)
-Things are picking up: the sequel (recycling), by Nan Hunter
– VaHi color: Mark Draper and Mother’s Tire Company, by Warren Pritchard
– The YWCA comes to VaHi
– What VaHi merchants are doing to deter crime