VaHi Safety Team Report: December 3, 2014

By John Wolfinger

Door-To-Door Solicitors

When I first started seeing chatter on our message boards about door-to-door solicitors, I figured that this situation would be like recent years and these guys would be gone in a couple of days – but this year it seems that we have a real determined group leader who is keeping these guys on our streets for a long time.  Most of the recent chatter has been on the VHMPA parent’s message board, and I guess because this group has a lot of stay-at-home parents who are at home during the day when these solicitors come knocking.

I am glad that most VaHi and Morningside posters are reporting that they have called 911 about these solicitors – but also surprised at how many folks have opened up their front doors to these strangers. Most of the solicitors have been described as young w/m and all have the same sort of story about how they live in the neighborhood and you probably know my mother who walks her dog on your street, etc, etc. As long as they have stayed here tells me that they are being successful in garnering up cash (I suppose for magazine subscriptions) and they may be here longer as long as their luck holds out. Calling 911 about their presence is our most practical way of getting rid of them, as the more these guys are hassled by APD from your calls, the sooner they will want to leave. I would doubt that any arrests will result from your 911 calls as there is only a shaky probable cause – that is, unless some of them have warrants. Yeah – we have a permit system for door-to-door soliciting, but it is seldom used.

To understand how this scam works – try googling phrases such as “magazine sales” or some similar sort of words – and you will turn up a vast array of links. Some that I found are –  http://www.houstonpress.com/2008-07-17/news/what-mainstream-publishers-don-t-want-you-to-know-about-door-to-door-magazine-sales/  – http://www.magcrew.com   –  http://www.wfla.com/story/24808728/local-lawyer-rescues-teen-caught-up-in-traveling-magazine-sales-crew. Note the dates on some of the articles you turn up – this scam has been going on for years.

If you have elderly neighbors who may believe and fall prey to these solicitors – please warn them about this scam operation.

The PDL Avenue Drug Nest

Kudos to Midtown’s MPSA off-duty security patrol group for their very well-researched report on the group of PDL Avenue buildings on the south side of the street between Boulevard and Parkway Drive.  http://www.midtownponce.org/p5679.html   Also – thanks to channel 46 CBSAtlanta for doing a story about this situation at  http://www.cbs46.com/story/27531583/midtown-crackdown-on-criminal-behavior-police-making-arrests.

The VaHi Tour of Homes

This weekend (12/6 and 12/7) we will be playing host to a horde of out-of-the-neighborhood home tour goers who may get lost as they wend their way from home to home.  Please exhibit our usual VaHi hospitality and help them to find the address they are looking for.  Also – many of these folks will not be aware of the Clean Car Campaign, so if you notice folks leaving their parked car with items on the seat ready to be stolen, please gently warn them of this danger.  I don’t know of any car break-in incidents over the years during the tour – but I would hate for this year to be an exception.  https://vahi.org/tour-of-homes/.

Our Safe Address Delivery Program

Last evening about 5:30 (after dark) I was behind a UPS truck and watched them quickly leave packages on 4 doorsteps on Los Angeles Avenue between Brookridge and Vance – I could very well have been a thief waiting to snatch these packages.  PLEASE – we have a way to stop these front porch thefts. Just go to Intown Hardware on North Highland Avenue, Morningstar Storage or Urban Body on PDL Place or Framing By Design on Piedmont Road @ Rock Springs and sign up to use their address for safe delivery of your holiday packages. It is so simple – but quite obviously we are still taking our chances at getting what we ordered or receiving gift packages from friends and relatives.

Stay alert and aware and enjoy this holiday season – AND remind your visitors to completely clean out their parked cars!!!!!!

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