VaHi Safety Team Report: November 21, 2012

BeltLine Caution

The new eastside BeltLine trail that is attracting hundreds of joggers/walkers/bicyclists as a wonderful, scenic place to get out for exercise is also attracting those who prey on unsuspecting and unalert folks. There have been 3 recent incidents I need to make you aware of – on 11/19 there were two separate reports of joggers robbed in the area of the Highland Avenue bridge (no mention of weapons being used) and last week a jogger was robbed at gunpoint at the end of Greenwood Avenue at the BeltLine. These folks all lost their cellphones – so there was a delay in contacting 911. As you use the BeltLine, please keep electronics hidden under your clothing, and stay aware of your surroundings, just as you would on our city streets. As you traverse the BeltLine, keep note of where you are by noting landmarks and the dead-ends of city streets. Until such time when location signs are placed along the trail – assume responsibility for keeping track of your location, and your own safety. I hope that a decision-maker is reading this report and will act soon on BeltLine location ID signs and/or callboxes.

The Upcoming VaHi Tour of Homes

The annual VaHi Tour of Homes (an important community bonding project) is just around the corner on 12/8 and 12/9. The tour is a great way to explore the architecture and design of our neighborhood, as well as to meet your neighbors. The tour is also an important neighborhood fund-raiser.

There are still some volunteer opportunities – especially for the Sunday shifts. Each volunteer gets 2 complimentary tour tickets as a bonus. Details of the tour are at including how to sign up for volunteering. Those of us who are going to be house captains need to have enough staff volunteers to watch the houses.

The Jack Boys Sentencings

As another sentence was being handed down in this case – I got a nice note from Lisa McGraw, the courageous lady who was with Charles Boyer at the time of his killing. She stated – “Thank you VaHi for your support. I truly hope you never have to deal with another incident like this. I, and Charles’ family are happy that justice has been served. We are hoping to move on with our lives now. It’s been a long haul for all of us, but I can say, for all of us, the Fulton County DA’s office and their victim assistance program were absolutely amazing. Thank you all! Happy holidays and peace to you all.”

We all owe a vote of thanx to Assistant District Attorney Lance Cross for his skillful handling of this entire case.

Other Court and Investigation News

I have been informed from Zone 6 that the homicide division investigators have strong leads in the recent Ford Factory Lofts slaying and in the Barnett Street murder last August. We wish them well in solving these two senseless killings.

Tiffany Harlow, the Zone 2 Community Prosecutor, announced Monday evening at our NPU “F” meeting that Charles Echols, the serial house burglar who was captured 8/22, is scheduled for a hearing 11/28 at 9 a.m. in courtroom 7F before Judge Doris Downs. I will be leaving VaHi at 8:30 a.m. that day and will be glad to have company for CourtWatching that day. Let me know if you can attend – there are lots of VaHi and Morningside victims who should want to be there.

New COPS Newsletter

Our APD COPS (Community Oriented Policing Section) has a great newsletter with lots of important holiday safety tips as well as news as to how they are working on the crime prevention front.

Our former evening watch patrolman, Officer Ralph Woolfolk, is now part of COPS.

The following reports have been gleaned from the APD Zone6 ( crime stats for the 2012 weeks of 43 and 44 (10/21-11/3) with emphasis on our VaHi Beat 601, but with news from around the Zone as it applies to us. Again, I state these reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to alert you to what happens around us everyday and to raise your awareness.

Aggravated Assault – There was a domestic altercation at a Briarcliff Road apartment.

Auto Theft – Vehicles were stolen from PDL Avenue and Rosedale Road.

Auto Theft Recovery – No reported recoveries in Beat 601

Commercial Burglary – Entry to the China Dragon restaurant on PDL Avenue was gained by damaging a deadbolt lock and 2 padlocks. A small amount of cash was taken.

Residential Burglary – A Briarcliff Summit resident fell asleep with the apartment door unlocked and awoke to find 2 tv sets missing.

Commercial Robbery – No reported incidents in Beat 601

Residential Robbery – No reported incidents in Beat 601

Larceny from Vehicle – Vehicles were entered on Amsterdam Walk, Maiden Lane, North Highland Avenue (3) and PDL Place. In this two week time period there were 96 of these reports from all over Zone 6. Near the Peachtree-Pine shelter on Pine Street a bus from the suburban Woodstock Baptist Church was broken into and a lot of purses were taken. I would assume that these unaware suburbanites were at this location to bring food to the shelter. A good example of biting the hand that is feeding you. As we enter the holiday season – remember the Clean Car Campaign – and make sure ALL parked cars are cleaned out at ALL times. And – don’t wait til you get to a busy parking lot to stash stealables in your trunk – think ahead.

Larceny Other – A locked bicycle was taken from a Greenwood Avenue apartment building stairwell. Take those bicycles inside when not in use! Also on Greenwood Avenue, a front doorstep package theft was reported from someone who did not know to use Intown Hardware, CityStorage or Highland Wine and Crystal as a safe delivery address. Check with these friendly merchants to sign up for this free program and help to stamp out front porch package thefts.

Around the Zone elsewhere cellphone snatch and grabs still persist from unalert and unaware victims. Also – is it wise to use a cellphone case as a holding place for debit and credit cards? An incident at the shopping area at Piedmont Avenue @ North Avenue, an attempted snatch grab resulted in the victim’s debit card falling out of the case which was taken by the thief.

Electronics were taken from the sanctuary (a misnomer in this case) of the Druid Hills Baptist Church on PDL Avenue. A chained to a tree piece of Art on the BeltLine was stolen.

Pedestrian Robbery – No reported incidents in Beat 601 but a warning about meeting people on social media sites. On Boulevard at 5:30 p.m. the male victim was at the location to meet a female he “met” on facebook. He was jumped by 2 males who put him in a choke hold, punched, kicked and bit him and then took his property. They fled along with his intended “date”.

Stay alert and aware out there during this holiday season.


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