April 18, 2015

Virginia Highland Public Safety Report Weeks 13, 14, and 15

Prepared by John Wolfinger

Neighborhood Security Camera Initiative
As an outcome of the recent (4/13) VaHi safety meeting, when APD Deputy Chief Spillane suggested that the neighborhood compile and maintain a list of video security cameras on private property and make that list available to APD via our security patrol, Kay Stephenson has gotten the ball rolling with this initiative.  This is one way that individual residents and businesses can help APD to catch and build stronger cases against those suspected of crime in our area.  Currently, investigators have to do a "sweep" looking for available cameras after an incident, and having a list of pre-identified cameras would speed up the investigation process.  Chief Spillane stated that if these camera locations are on a registry, APD can geocode them to their mapping system, and he is aware and approves of this initiative.
If you have a security camera - to get this started - please send to Kay Stephenson at VaHiSafety@gmail.com the following information -
Your name, Street address with building and apartment number if applicable, Phone number, Email address, Number of cameras facing the street and number of total cameras.
This program is at no charge, voluntary and open to any resident or business with the Beat 601 and VaHi boundaries (Amsterdam Avenue on the north, the BeltLine on the west, PDL Avenue on the south, and Briarcliff Road and/or the city limits on the east.
Note that APD does not need to know about interior cameras for this project due to privacy concerns.  The police only need interior film if there is an incident inside your home.
Kay will assemble and maintain this listing.  Details as to how APD and FBAC will gain access to this list are undetermined as of yet, but be assured this will not be used for any purpose than for law enforcement usage.
Being included on this list does not, in any way, obligate an owner to turn over surveillance video.  It simply lets investigators quickly identify where tape may be available to help with a case, and gives them the contact information to request assistance.  Please do participate even if you think your cameras do not provide sufficient resolution to identify a suspect.  Sometimes just being able to place a blurry figure at a certain place can help with the timeline of a crime.  This gives a lot of residents and businesses a chance to help APD (and the community) in a very positive way.

If you were not at the 4/13 safety meeting at the Virginia-Highland Church - you can read a recap and see the film coverage at http://vahi.org/apd-officials-listen-and-respond-to-resident-safety-concerns  Thanx to John Becker for providing this information, and all he does for our community to keep us informed.

Lawn Care Equipment Identification
We are now in lawn and tree care equipment theft season and our Zone 6 Investigator Gurley has issued a request for help in solving these cases.  He asks that you not only prepare a list for your own personal outside equipment of serial and any other identifying numbers, but plead with your contractors to make such a list.  It would also be a good idea to scratch on initials or some personal identifying code.  Gurley states that many of these machines end up at pawn shops - but without a way to prove ownership, it is very difficult to get things back to the victims.  This step is in addition to asking your lawn care guys to keep their unused equipment locked and chained on their trucks. 
CourtWatch Reinstated by the DA's Office
After too long of a period of inactivity, our Fulton County CourtWatch program, now has a coordinator again in the person of Danielle Simpson.  She will be informing me of court cases for APD Zone 6 defendants and I will in turn post these notices on our neighborhood message boards.  CourtWatch allows we the citizens to be present in the downtown courtoom to make our concern known to the presiding judge.  I assume that by default, I am still the Zone 6 point person, so let me know if you are interested in attending these court sessions and I will assemble a notification list.  Be forewarned, that the notification from Danielle is often only a day ahead - but with a sizable list, there ought to be at least a few who can attend any certain hearing.  If you are interested and are available on weekdays - let me know at jjonww2@earthlink.net   Sitting in on these hearings is a real education.  Since recidivism is such a big problem - these CourtWatch sessions are a good way to help make sure repeat offenders get their deserved sentences.
A Warning to Businesses
This news item from a few weeks ago should serve as a warning to businesses not to leave cash in the register after closing.
The following reports are taken from our APD Zone 6 (http://atlantapd.org/Zone6.aspx) VaHi Beat 601 reported incidents for the 2015 weeks 13, 14 and 15 (3/22 - 4/11).  As I always state, these reports are not meant to scare anyone, but to let you know what happens around us everyday, so you can be alert and aware.
Aggravated Assault  -  No reported incidents in Beat 601
Auto Theft  -  A 2013 Chevy Malibu was taken from PDL Avenue and a 2006 Chevy was taken also on PDL Avenue.
Commercial Burglary  -  The Metro PCS store on PDL Avenue had the front glass door smashed - but nothing taken.  Their cameras filmed the incident.
Residential Burglary  -  An apartment was entered in the Virginia Highland apartments on Virginia Avenue.  The victim had left the curtains and windows open.  5 jewelry boxes and a playstation taken.  A backpack left behind with a crowbar inside also held the victim's laptops.  Guess that the perp got scared and left in a hurry.
Got a doggie door?  In Ormewood Park, a witness saw a suspect kick at the doggie door, so he could reach inside in an attempt to grab the doorknob - but an accomplice saw the witness and they both fled.
Commercial Robbery  -  No reported incidents in Beat 601
Residential Robbery  -  No reported incidents in Beat 601
Pedestrian Robbery  -  On 3/26 on the morning watch (10p.m.-7a.m.) after using the Bank of America ATM, the victim and friend were walking north on Frederica Street when a car pulled out of the library parking lot - the driver got out and yelled "give me the money".  The victim wisely gave him his wallet which was also a cell phone holder.  The suspect got back into his car and fled.
Nearby on 3/23 on the evening watch (before 10p.m.) victims walking on the BeltLine just south of the PDL Avenue bridge, were approached from behind by 2 males - one with a handgun who took a wallet and contents and a cell phone.  They were arrested nearby.  This is the first BeltLine incident I remember in a long, long time.
Larceny From Vehicle -  Vehicles were entered on PDL Avenue (backpack, wallet and contents, keys, shoes and cash), Rosewood Drive - (nothing taken), Orme Circle ( 2 vehicles involved and headphones taken), Rosewood Drive (gymbag and contents) North Highland Avenue (I-pad, shoulder bag, day planner), North Highland Avenue ( 2 vehicles involved, 2 bookbags, briefcase, 3 laptops, car keys, checkbook, books, flash drive, car charger, ear buds), Arlington Place (clothing, jewelry display), Virginia Avenue (portable play set), Orme Circle (cash, backpack, 2 hammocks), Rosedale Road (handgun, silencer and 100 rounds of ammo - this thief hit the jackpot), Virginia Avenue (in driveway - trimmer and cutters, edger and backpack leaf blower from truck bed), Greenwood Avenue (3 arrests from 911 call placed by early a.m. joggers who saw them looking into cars.  The suspects had loot taken from a previous break-in), Highland Lane (nothing taken).
In this time period, there were 99 reported such incidents all over the Zone, which yielded 7 weapons, including the Rosedale Road incident which also gave the thief 100 rounds of ammo.  If you are a thief and want a weapon, all you have to do is break into enough vehicles and you will be rewarded.  At the 4/9 safety meeting at the Zoo - Chief Turner stated there have been 455 weapons confiscated this year so far, but there seems to be a plentiful supply left in vehicles ready to be stolen.
Larceny Other  -  Mail reported stolen from a North Highland Avenue residential mailbox after victim had been away from home.  Stop your mail when you are going to be away from home - either ask a neighbor to retrieve it or easily stop delivery at https://www.usps.com/ and then have it delivered after you are back home.
Nearby at the Edgewood Retail District - as the victim neared her car a female grabbed her purse and fled in a waiting car.  Consider carrying essential needs in a wallet that can be hidden in a pocket.
The following incident narrative (that I have shortened) appeared on the nextdoor message board on 4/15 and is not yet verified by a police report - but it still points out that we need to be alert at all times and know your neighbors. At 7:30 p.m. the victim was walking on Lanier Boulevard (north of Kentucky Avenue) when a vehicle with 3 males inside stopped to ask her directions, as she approached the car one got out with gun drawn.  The victim threw down her purse, screamed and ran for a friend's house (wise lady).  Police were looking at video camera surveillance tape from 2 nearby residences.  No word of any arrests.
Stay alert, keep your parked car cleaned out at ALL times, and enjoy this wonderful spring season.

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