VaHi Safety Team Report: November 24, 2014

By John Wolfinger

Fight Back Against Crime (FBAC)

Thanx to Kay Stephenson for this great explanation about our neighborhood off-duty patrol system:

As many of you know, here in Virginia-Highland, we have a supplementary police patrol that is privately funded by memberships. Fight Back Against Crime was started over 20 years ago by neighborhood volunteers and all of the administrative work is still done voluntarily. FBAC is one of the longest running such patrols in the city.

This patrol is managed by Chris Clark, a veteran and experienced APD Sergeant, and is staffed with senior officers who are all well versed about our neighborhood, our crime patterns, our regular offenders and problem areas. As sworn officers, these individuals patrol in uniform, and though off-duty from APD, still carry full policing powers to investigate and arrest criminals.Patrols are conducted throught the streets, alleys and parks of VaHi, both in their vehicles and on foot. The timing of the patrol periods varies depending on what is happening and what crime patterns are observed. In addition to patrols, members may notify officers when they will be away from home, so that during each shift your home can be inspected on a walk-around to make sure everything is secure. In addition, these officers monitor the Zone 6 police dispatch radio and respond to calls along with the on-duty APD officers.

Patrols are conducted through the streets, alleys and parks of VaHi, both in their vehicles and on foot. The timing of the patrol periods varies depending on what is happening and what crime patterns are observed. In addition to patrols, members may notify officers when they will be away from home, so that during each shift your home can be inspected on a walk-around to make sure everything is secure. In addition, these officers monitor the Zone 6 police dispatch radio and respond to calls along with the on-duty APD officers.

Sadly, subscriptions to this essential service are down significantly. If we can’t increase subscriptions, it is likely that patrol hours will need to be reduced. This is especially problematic as we head into the holiday season when we typically see an uptick in crime.

The cost for an individual household subscription is $25 per month and the cost for an individual renter or condo owner is $20 per month. Many residents spend more than that amount on cable tv per month.

I hope that you will consider signing up or renewing membership. For more information – go to http://www.fbacvahi.com/ If you are a member, please remember to notify FBAC when you are going to be out of town for holiday visits.

The Morningside Safety Meeting 11/24Thanx to our councilman Alex Wan, and the Morningside/Lenox Park association for organizing a very informative safety meeting that was attended by a large crowd of NPU “F” residents. This session, with a lot of APD brass, was in response to all of the apprehension due to the several middle-of-the-nite burglaries in our area, and city-wide car-jackings. APD organized a special city-wide task force to coordinate information, which has led to the identification of a car-jacking ring with arrests. One arrest has been made for a VaHi home burglary and warrants are out for two more suspects, with these investigations continuing. Our at-large councilperson, Mary Norwood, also gave an update on the Repeat Offender Commission, which has completed its work and will be issuing a complete report next week. She said that some judges are already modifying their sentencing, using these new guidelines, to get more repeat offenders off the streets for longer periods of time. A similar effort is going to address repeat juvenile offenders also.

Thanx to our councilman Alex Wan, and the Morningside/Lenox Park association for organizing a very informative safety meeting that was attended by a large crowd of NPU “F” residents. This session, with a lot of APD brass, was in response to all of the apprehension due to the several middle-of-the-nite burglaries in our area, and city-wide carjackings. APD organized a special city-wide task force to coordinate information, which has led to the identification of a car-jacking ring with arrests. One arrest has been made for a VaHi home burglary and warrants are out for two more suspects, with these investigations continuing. Our at-large councilperson, Mary Norwood, also gave an update on the Repeat Offender Commission, which has completed its work and will be issuing a complete report next week. She said that some judges are already modifying their sentencing, using these new guidelines, to get more repeat offenders off the streets for longer periods of time. A similar effort is going to address repeat juvenile offenders also.

Front Porch Package Thefts

This crime category can be virtually eliminated by using the free safe address package delivery service offered by Intown Hardware on North Highland Avenue, Morningstar Storage and Urban Body on PDL Place, and now, thanx to Susan Kanellos of Piedmont Heights, Framing By Design on Piedmont Road at Rock Springs. Just go by any of these friendly neighborhood merchants and sign up to use their safe address for delivery of your UPS, FedEx and USPS packages. Then, you have to remember to use this different “ship to” address and to notify friends and family who will be sending you holiday gift packages. The new Framing By Design location will be very convenient for Piedmont Heights, north Morningside and Lindridge/Martin Manor residents. These merchants will also call you to let you know you have a package to pick up. Make sure that Aunt Millie’s gift fruitcake does not end up being tossed in a gutter somewhere!

The following reports are taken from our APD Zone 6 (http://atlantapd.org/Zone6.aspx) VaHi Beat 601 reported incidents for the 2014 weeks 45 and 46 (11/7 to 11/15). These reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to let you know what happens around us every day – so you can be alert and aware.

Aggravated Assault – No reported incidents from Beat 601. However, an incident of note that involved Zone 6 Sergeant Bill Skeens who is a regular patrolman for FBAC. He was injured in Grant Park as he and a partner stopped behind a parked car with lights on and the engine running. They saw a blunt in the center console and one of the 2 naked occupants tried to hide it with his hand – Skeens opened the driver’s side door asking for the blunt – the driver put the car in reverse at high speed, pinning Skeens between the 2 vehicles. The suspect’s open car door was bent back alongside the rear door, pushing Skeens under the police car’s front bumper. The driver put his car into forward gear and sped out of the park. Skeens was taken to Grady and I have not yet heard as to the extent of his injuries or as to how he is healing.Auto Theft – A 2006 Acura TSX was taken from Virginia Avenue

Auto Theft – A 2006 Acura TSX was taken from Virginia Avenue.

Commercial Burglary – No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Residential Burglary – No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Commercial Robbery – No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Residential Robbery – No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Pedestrian Robbery – No reported incidents from Beat 601.

Larceny From Vehicle – OK – you knew this is where there is going to be a lot of incidents – right?? In this time period, there were 105 such reported incidents all over Zone 6.

Here in Beat 601 – there was a wealth of goods left to be stolen (and they were). Virginia Avenue – (laptop, credit card, debit card, driver’s license, Bose headphones and a backpack), Briarcliff Place – (backpack, laptop, hard drive), Lanier Boulevard (laptop and bag), North Highland Avenue (2 laptops and a backpack), Greenwood Avenue – (I-pad, laptop and bag, x-box, clothing, camera and camera lens), Virginia Avenue – (laptop, 5 pair sunglasses), St. Charles Avenue – (bookbag, I-pad), St. Charles Avenue (nothing taken), Virginia Avenue – (laptop, briefcase, charger), Los Angeles Avenue – (laptop and bag), North Highland Avenue – (cellphone).

This is a great story of great police work – even for the naive victims! In the parking lot behind American Roadhouse, a witness saw 2 males break into two vehicles from a 2nd story window, ran down to try to stop them, but they escaped, but not without him remembering the license plate number and type of car. He then called 911 as they left. They stole a bag with 5 credit cards, a checkbook and an I-pad from one car and a backpack with school supplies from the 2nd car. The I-pad had a tracking device which was tracked down to a Cascade Road, SW residence in Zone 4 who were contacted. Zone 4 took a pic of the car in the driveway which was positively identified by the witness. Zone 4 entered the house (with permission) and found the two suspects hiding in a closet blocked by a mattress. All of the stolen items were recovered. One of the arrestees was a 16 y/o juvenile.Larceny Other – At a Monroe Drive apartment the victim’s boyfriend (ex-boyfriend now I assume) burned her sofa and took her cell phone. At an un-named PDL Avenue bar, a patron had her unwatched purse taken containing a cell phone, s.s. card, driver’s license and sunglasses. (Why do some people carry their s.s. cards with them anyway??)

Larceny Other – At a Monroe Drive apartment the victim’s boyfriend (ex-boyfriend now I assume) burned her sofa and took her cell phone. At an un-named PDL Avenue bar, a patron had her unwatched purse taken containing a cell phone, s.s. card, driver’s license and sunglasses. (Why do some people carry their s.s. cards with them anyway??) In this time period at the Edgewood Retail District there were 16 shoplifting reports. Tis the season – huh??

In this time period at the Edgewood Retail District there were 16 shoplifting reports. Tis the season – huh??

If you have holiday guests coming – PLEASE remind them of the Clean Car Campaign and have them bring ALL items from their cars into your house while they are with you. Small town and rural people just do not think to clean out their cars.

Be alert and aware and enjoy this holiday season.

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