December 13, 2015

VaHi Safety Team Report Weeks 45 through 48 (11/1/15 – 11/28/15)

News and Notes

This will be a long report as I received four weeks of data from APD all at once. Please bear with me and read to the end.

Zone 6 Toy Drive

For anyone who wants to donate to the Zone 6 Toy Drive for families in need, there is still time. Please leave a new unwrapped toy on John Wolfinger’s front porch no later than noon Monday 12/14. John lives at 1054 Vance Ave. The party to distribute gifts to the children will take place on December 17th. If you would like to help John and Officer Dodson to set up for the party, please let John know by Monday also. Feeling especially generous? The folks at APD would love to have two bicycles (one for a boy and one for a girl) and bicycle helmets. These will be given as part of a raffle at the party, and will be the hit of the event. To date John has delivered six car loads full of toys from generous Virginia Highland residents.

Street Number Signs

One of the simplest things you can do to protect yourself and your family is to make sure first responders can find your house or business in an emergency. You might be surprised how many houses have no numbers, or have numbers that do not show up after dark. This can mean valuable minutes lost while Atlanta Police or Fire/Rescue personnel search for the right location. The Virginia Highland Civic Association has designed beautiful house number signs which would make a perfect gift for family or friends. Find more information here

Active Shooter Response

Given recent mass shootings at various locations around the country some have questioned the preparedness of Atlanta Police Department to respond to an active shooter situation. Deputy Chief Joseph P. Spillane, who is responsible for the Field Operations Division (including our Zone 6 officers), took the time to provide us with this detailed response.
·           ALL Police Officers are trained to react to situations with individuals who may be armed.  APD deals with armed individuals on a daily basis.  APD has seized over 1500 firearms this year from encounters on the Streets of Atlanta.
·           We currently have Active Shooter training for the entire Department as recruits go through the Academy.
·           We provided the entire Department with additional training several years ago on Active Shooter and now provide it to basic recruits.
·           We have Active Shooter for the entire department scheduled in our 2016 In-Service Training.
·           We have several units in APD that train on Active Shooter more frequently than regular beat officers. APEX, SWAT, CERT and other specialized teams train more frequently on Active Shooter than line officers. 
·           We have a Patrol Rifle Program; these are Units in the field trained and equipped in our Patrol Rifle program and qualified to carry an AR-15 based platform weapon daily.  There are over 110 regular patrol officers with this qualification trained on Active Shooter.
·           We have an additional 60 Patrol Rifles on order to train additional personnel for the Patrol Rifle Program.
·           We have scheduled a refresher training for our Rifle Qualified patrol officers and Supervisors.
·           We have several active shooter drills throughout the year.  These include tabletops and actual drills at locations.  The next tabletop involves the Atlanta Streetcar this month.
We provide additional on-going training at both the Atlanta Police Academy and the Georgia Public Safety Training Center on Advanced Patrol Rifle, Advanced Firearms and Active Shooter response training to officers who elect to become more proficient.
If anyone noticed on the news at the WWE Event at Philips, Ga. Dome Games and other events, officers armed with AR-15 Platform Rifles on patrol.  These officers are there specifically to engage any Active Shooter at any event. 
APD feels we are prepared to respond to any incident that occurs in the City of Atlanta and continue to train our personnel to be equipped and effectively trained in any situation.  APD’s Homeland Security Unit provides intelligence and threat assessments to APD.  We also rely heavily on our Federal and State partners to provide us intelligence on any potential target.
Deputy Chief Joseph P. Spillane, Atlanta Police Department
Field Operations Division
(404) 546-4995 (Office)

Street Sweeping

Virginia-Highland is scheduled for street sweeping by the Atlanta Department of Public Works on Monday December 14th. This street cleaning is only scheduled four times a year, so if at all possible, please park cars off street for the day so that they can do a good job. If you are unable to move your vehicle the truck will just go around you.
Since this activity is also scheduled on trash collection day and Department of Public Works employees will leave cans in the street, this is another barrier to a good cleaning. If you can snag you cans before the street sweeper passes, this will be helpful. If you would like to point out the inefficiency of this schedule, please contact Commissioner Richard Mendoza

Crime Statistics

The following information is taken from our APD Zone 6 report (
It includes information from the Virginia-Highland Beat 601 reported incidents along with relevant reports from other nearby beats. Keep in mind that not all incidents are reported. A map showing the location of beats 601 – 612 within Zone 6 can be found at this link This information is not shared to scare anyone, but to let you know what happens around us every day so you can be alert and aware.

Homicide None in Beat 601

Rape None in Beat 601

Pedestrian/Carjacking Robbery Three in Beat 601
In the early hours of November 1st a woman was returning from the commercial district along N. Highland to her friend’s house on St. Charles near Frederica to retrieve her vehicle. She was grabbed from behind by the neck in a choke hold. She began to scream for help and the suspect hit her repeatedly in the face. A second suspect told the first male suspect to grab her purse, then they both fled the scene with her bag. Several witnesses heard the screams, called 911, and at least two nearby male residents went to the victim’s aid. However, none of the witnesses were able to provide a description of the suspects. The Victim was transported to Grady Hospital for treatment.

On November 23rd in the overnight hours a man was approached on Maiden Lane by two men armed with a rifle and a handgun. They stole his cell phone, ID, cash, car keys and coat.

On November 24th in the parking lot of Friends on Ponce, suspects approached a black Mercedes, pressed a gun against the window and demanded the occupants give up their property and exit the car. The suspects fled the scene in the car.

Residential Robbery None in Beat 601

Commercial Robbery None in Beat 601

Aggravated Assault None in Beat 601

Residential Burglary None in Beat 601

Commercial Burglary Four in Beat 601
On November 9th the Threadz store on St. Charles was broken into. Video showed suspects used a crow bar to damage the front door. Video shows a friend of a store employee and two other individuals who went straight to a supply closet and stole shoes and pants.

On November 12th and November 14th 310 Rosemont on N. Highland was burglarized. In both cases the front door glass was broken. In both cases suspects stole high end jeans and other apparel and accessories. Video footage shows that the suspects were in and out of the store in less than two minutes and wore dark clothing, long sleeves, hats, masks, and gloves.

On November 22nd the Judith Bright store at the corner of Virginia and N. Highland avenues was burglarized. The suspect through a rock through the window and stole jewelry from the window display.

There is clearly a crew working Zone 6 and targeting these stores with high-end apparel or jewelry that is easy to resell. Zone 6 command staff tells us that they are working these cases hard, have some leads they are pursuing, and the break-ins are not confined to our neighborhood, but are in fact city-wide.

In the meantime the VaHi Safety Team, Property Owner Stuart Meddin and VHCA are working to find sources of funding to install video cameras that will be monitored by the APD Video Integration Center. More information on that effort as it develops.

Larceny From Vehicle Five in Beat 601
Vehicles were entered on Ponce De Leon Ave (Chow Baby parking lot), Ponce Place (Highland View parking lot), N. Highland Ave (on street between St. Charles and Greenwood), St. Louis  Place (on street in front of residence), and Briarcliff Place (on street in front of residence). Entry was made via smashed windows. Taken were a gym bag and cash, vehicle tag, purse with cash and cards, a jacket, clothing/suitcase, briefcase, camera, laptop, and other electronics, and a second laptop and bag.

Please make sure to completely clean out your vehicle, and if you have guests visiting, please ensure that they do the same – even if this means unloading a fully loaded car.

Other Larcenies Three in Beat 601
On November 11th a locked bicycle was stolen from a outside stairwell. Please make every effort to bring bicycles inside as locks do little to deter serious criminals who carry all of the tools necessary to defeat the lock.

On November 14th at Hand and Hand a server’s bag was stolen from the waitress stand. If bar and restaurant owners could provide locked storage for employee belongings this would be helpful. It is easy for would be thieves to see employees coming to work and stashing their belongings behind the bar or in other unlocked areas. Then all they have to do is wait until everyone is distracted with customers.

On November 15th a woman entered the Druid Hills Presbyterian Church to use the restroom. She left her bag on the counter and when she came out of the stall it was gone.

Auto Theft None in Beat 601

Stay Safe!

Kay Stephenson

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