VaHi Safety Team Report: October 14, 2013

By: John Wolfinger

Neighborhood Cleanup Planned for Nov. 2

Keep Virginia Highland Beautiful, an independent coalition of concerned businesses and residents, has announced a community fall cleanup on Saturday morning, November 2, from 8 AM until Noon. Meet at the patio of the American Roadhouse restaurant at 8 AM for coffee and pastries and to get assignments to fan out along the North Highland business corridor. RSVP at either or at their Facebook page

If you are involved with a church, school, service, business or other such group – please consider this as an invitation to join in to make this morning a resounding success. If you also would like to self-organize a cleanup for other specific neighborhood areas – please let us know so you can be worked into the total effort for this day. Our previous cleanups have made a significant difference – let’s make this the best one yet.

What does this cleanup have to do with public safety? A lot – in that I am a confirmed believer of the “broken windows theory of crime prevention” – read about this at

In the meantime before the cleanup – we urge business and property owners to take a critical look at the area from your front door to the street and make an extra effort to clean up broken glass, cigarette butts and trash every day. This also apples to residents by making sure your property is well groomed all the way to the street. As you take your daily walk, take a plastic bag with you to gather up litter as you walk.

A special thanks goes out to Rad Slough of Urban Body for continually cleaning up the west end of Maiden Lane. If your business or residence backs up to this street, please consider partnering with Rad to keep this street even cleaner.

Cell Phone and I-Pad Thefts

These devices continue to be stolen from unwary addicted users every day all over the city. Many are stolen as they are laid down unwatched. Display these personal electronic devices cautiously in public. A recent such theft incident in Buckhead is documented at This caution also applies to the BeltLine – this popular path has been free of incidents lately, but don’t tempt fate.

Residential Security Camera Systems

Two very recent incidents were captured on high-resolution camera systems. The stories at  and Congrats to Zone 5’s Lieutenant Cantin for becoming a nationally known crime fighter via this film.

These camera systems are increasingly becoming more and more sophisticated with very clear images – but I am not knowledgeable about such electronic gear. If anyone out there would like to write up a short blurb about these new cameras, I would be glad to share with everyone in the community.

The following reports are taken from our APD Zone 6 ( crime stats for our VaHi Beat 601 for the 2013 weeks of 37, 38 and 39 (9/8 – 9/28). These reports are now meant to scare anyone, but to make you aware of what happens around us everyday and to raise your level of alertness. Note that this report contains 3 weeks of stats, instead of the usual 2 weeks – life has gotten in my way and I’ve just gotten behind in compiling a report.

Aggravated Assault: No reported incidents from Beat 601

Auto Theft: A 2008 Toyota Camry was stolen on Virginia Avenue and a scooter was taken from Briarcliff Court.

Commercial Burglary: No reported incidents from Beat 601

Residential Burglary: No reported incidents from Beat 601

Commercial Robbery: No reported incidents from Beat 601

Pedestrian Robbery: No reported incidents from Beat 601

Larceny From Vehicle: Vehicles were entered on PDL Place, Virginia Circle, Drewry Street, Virginia Avenue, PDL Avenue, Los Angeles Avenue (2), and North Highland Avenue (2).  In this 3 week total, there were 120 vehicles entered for theft all over Zone 6. Imagine that if everyone adhered to the Clean Car Campaign – how much more time Zone 6 Officers would have to spend patrolling, instead of writing up auto larceny reports. This is one of the easiest crimes to prevent – yet this category continually drives our crime stats upward every week. And – we all pay for this with higher insurance rates. Please warn your out-of-the-neighborhood visitors to clean out their cars before leaving their parked cars. The same goes for your lawn service guys – all equipment in the back of their trucks needs to be chained down.

Larceny Other: An unwatched cell phone was taken at an un-named PDL Avenue business.  Four unwatched cell phones were taken from 4 student football players while they were exercising in the gym. The North Highland Avenue CVS store spotted a shoplifter, but he got away.

Do you lock your car doors while pumping gas?  At Buddy’s gas station on North Avenue a purse was stolen from the front seat while one perp distracted the gas pumper and another took a purse from the front seat and both fled.  At a gas station on Boulevard – one perp asked the pumper “what you need?” and his accomplice took a laptop from the front seat and both fled.

At the Edgewood Retail District Target store, an unwatched cell phone was taken from a shopping cart.

Stay alert and enjoy this wonderful fall weather.

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