April 21, 2017

VaHi Safety Team Report Weeks 1 through 15 (1/1/17 – 4/15/17)

News and Notes

Statistical Reporting from APD

For many years APD officers at the Zone 6 precinct have regularly prepared reports which provide information about crimes in our neighborhood. These reports have included the type of crime, date, time of day, and location of the incident. More importantly, these reports have provided an abbreviated narrative from the officer’s report including a description of a suspect, and information about whether an arrest has been made. So far, in 2017 resources within the department have not been available to prepare these reports.

Until such reports are once again available, the safety team will publish safety related stories as we have in the past, and provide statistics that are available from the APD Open Data Portal. The data portal only provides the type of crime, date, and address and therefore is not as useful as the information provided in the past. 

Without the officer’s narrative, for example, we don’t know whether an “other larceny” was a loaf of bread shoplifted from Publix, or a padlocked bicycle stolen off a 2nd floor balcony. An aggravated assault could have occurred in a bar using fists, or as a shooting of a random stranger on the street. Please keep this in mind as you review this information. Not all crimes are equal.

CourtWatch Update - Basil Eleby Bond Hearing

As has been reported by local media outlets, Basil Eleby, a reportedly homeless man who frequented the area under the I-85 overpass, has been arrested and charged for starting a fire which ultimately resulted in the collapse of that bridge. Mr. Eleby is being represented by a team of pro bono lawyers who appeared with him at a bail hearing on Tuesday morning, April 18. At that hearing Judge Ural Glanville ordered the defendant released on a $10,000 signature bond with a condition that he enter drug treatment and secure employment. Prior to this hearing he had been held on $200,000 bond. He is charged with 1st degree arson and criminal damage to property. If convicted, he could face up to 25 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

Atlanta Fire Rescue Foundation Emergency Preparedness Institute (AEPI)

The Atlanta Fire Rescue Foundation is accepting applications for the Atlanta Emergency Preparedness Institute (AEPI), a one-day intensive program that gives attendees information on how to assist in emergency preparedness activities. The AEPI will be held on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 from 7:30 am to 5:00 pm at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. There is no charge to attend, but participants must RSVP as space is limited. To RSVP, click on https://www.atlfrf.org/atlanta-emergency-preparedness-institute. For more information, contact Shirley Anne Smith, Executive Director for the Atlanta Fire Rescue Foundation at s.smith@atlfrf.org or 404-538-7112.

Atlanta Fire Rescue Citizen’s Fire Academy – Spring Session

AFR is now accepting applications for an eight-week commitment that starts on 5/4/2017 and well end on 6/22/2017. Class meets every Thursday from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Dinner is served each night. Live a day in the life of an Atlanta Firefighter and use their tools and equipment, do ride-alongs, and even drive the tiller truck. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Captain Terese Cummings at tshicks@atlantaga.gov or 404-557-9134. If you would like to speak with someone from the neighborhood who has participated in this training, please contact John Wolfinger at jjonww2@earthlink.net

Video Camera Registry - Do You have a Security Camera – APD Wants to Know

When a crime occurs in our neighborhood, such as a car break-in, a pedestrian robbery, or a residential burglary, one of the first things Atlanta PD investigators look for is video that will help to identify a suspect. While we have several high-powered video cameras mounted on poles around the neighborhood, it is often the simple camera you have pointed at your porch or driveway, or that a business has focused on their parking lot, that will pick up activity helpful to solving a crime affecting your neighbor.

The VHCA Safety Committee maintains an opt-in registry of cameras in the neighborhood and shares this information with APD Zone 6. Without this information, the investigator’s only option is to walk up and down the street trying to spy cameras, then knocking on doors and hoping someone will respond.

With the registry, APD can quickly identify where a camera is located and contact the owner via telephone or email to ask for assistance. Of course, residents and businesses are not required to make their personal video available to police, but doing so may make the difference in whether a suspect is caught or left free to victimize another neighbor.

We currently have cameras registered at about seventy addresses within Virginia-Highland – in a few cases we have multiple cameras on a single street. However, thirty-nine streets have none registered. If you would like to participate in the voluntary program open to both residents and businesses, simply send the following information to safety@vahi.org

Business Name (if applicable)
Street address
Phone number
Email address
Number of cameras
Area covered by camera (e.g. driveway, street, rear parking lot, etc.).

The safety committee, and all your neighbors thank you for helping to make our neighborhood a safe place to live, work and play.

*  Please note that the safety committee does not endorse any brand of camera. There are many recommendations to be found on our neighborhood message boards (VHList and Nextdoor).

Chip Card Tips

By now most of us have been issued new chip enabled credit cards and begun using them at stores. These cards, known as EMV (for Europay, MasterCard and Visa) are intended to make transactions more secure. Unlike traditional magnetic stripe cards that encode sensitive information directly on the card, these new cards create a unique transaction code that can only be used once. If a scammer were to “skim” the card, all they would get is the transaction code and since it had already been used, it would have no value.
However, that does not mean that chip cards are fool-proof. If you lose your card, it can still be used by whoever finds it – especially as few retailers check signatures or ask for a 2nd form of ID anymore. Your liability for such fraudulent transactions is still limited (some banks and card issuers protect you after the first $50).

One scam that has popped up recently involves contacting people with an email. The scammer pretends to represent your card issuer and asks you to verify information before they issue your new chip enabled card. Never respond to such requests as your bank or card issuer will not request that you provide sensitive information via email or over the phone unless you initiated the contact.

Here is a link to Clark Howard’s tips to avoid chip credit card fraud. And here are some additional tips from State Farm Insurance.  

Upcoming Events

April 29th – Walk to End Lupus at Piedmont Park. This event is contained completely within the park and runs from 9:00 – 11:00 am.

May 8th – VHCA general and board meeting 7:00 pm Grace Lutheran Church 1155 N. Highland Ave.

May 13th – A Taste of the Highlands event benefiting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) at John Howell Park from 2:00 – 5:00 pm. Load-in will occur on the Barnett side of the park and may cause congestion, but no road closures. Approximately 1,000 will attend so parking near JHP may be limited.

May 15th – NPU F meeting 7:00 pm at Hillside, 1301 Monroe Drive. Upcoming events, zoning variances, pending legislation, and alcohol license applications are typically discussed.

Crime Statistics

These statistics are pulled from the APD Open Data Portal http://opendata.atlantapd.org/Default.aspx. It includes reports from Beat 601 and Zone 6 as a whole. Because this data was pulled from an online data file and not from a prepared report with narrative which has been provided by APD in the past, I have no additional information or context that I can provide for any of these incidents.

Note that this data is for a total of 15 weeks whereas we normally report 2-3 weeks at a time.

If this report was forwarded to you and you would like to be added to the distribution, please contact us. For VaHi residents, send an email to safety@vahi.org with your name and street address to be connected with your street captain. For non-residents and businesses, send a message to me at VaHiSafety@gmail.com with your name, email address, and affiliation. Thanks.

Stay Safe!

Kay Stephenson

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