March 4, 2016

VaHi Safety Team Report Weeks Five and Six (1/24/16 – 2/6/16)

News and Notes

Zone Six Holiday Toy Drive and Dinner – Thank You

A letter was received by John Wolfinger on behalf of the Virginia-Highland Neighborhood from Atlanta Police Department Zone Six describing the holiday party and thanking all of us.  Your generosity provided gifts for 58 children in need. Follow the link to see what a special day our APD partners made for these children.

Join Virginia-Highland Security Patrol

The Virginia-Highland Security Patrol (also known as Fight Back Against Crime or FBAC) has been operating in our neighborhood for over twenty-five years. The patrol is staffed by off-duty APD officers patrolling in uniform with full policing powers and in FBAC marked vehicles. The program is funded through membership, but benefits the entire neighborhood. Are you doing your part? Follow the link to learn more and become a member.

You can also like our Facebook page to keep up to date with the patrol and significant APD announcements. Follow this link to read about the arrest of two armed robbers from an incident on February 27th

CourtWatch Works!

Last week we published a call for attendance at the sentencing hearing of two especially egregious offenders, Derrick Newell and Marcellus White. Newell was convicted of two counts of Aggravated Assault on a Peace Officer, Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, Terroristic Acts, and Reckless Conduct. White was convicted of Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, Terroristic Acts, and Reckless Conduct. Here is the background on this incident.

On December 19th, 2013, Officer Godwin and Officer McKesey were working in a marked APD K9 vehicle in the area of Parkway Drive N.W. and Ponce De Leon Avenue in Atlanta when they heard gunfire. The Officers then saw a black Toyota Camry backing down the road firing weapons up Parkway toward North Avenue. The Officers gave a loud verbal command, stating “Atlanta Police” and “drop your weapons.” The occupants of the Camry, including Newell, the front seat passenger, and White, the driver, then fired on the Officers. Both Officers returned fire in defense of their lives. The gunfire took place directly in front of a Zaxby’s Restaurant where people were eating. There was a pause in the gun fire, and Officers were able to safely take both White and Newell into custody. No one was injured as the result of the gunfire.

In response to the call for CourtWatchers, Jon Mann from Zone Six attended and Jim Stapleton, John Wolfinger, Dana Persons, E.L. Taylor, David Berl and I provided community impact statements. Judge T. Jackson Bedford sentenced Defendant Newell to serve 12 years in prison and Defendant White to serve 10 years in prison. This is an appropriate sentence for men who, without regard for law enforcement or the safety of innocent bystanders, were willing to shoot up Poncey-Highland. It is good to see a judge willing to take a tough stand and send a message.

Upcoming Road Races

The fifth annual Intown Ten! 10K race will be held Sunday March 6, 2016 beginning at 9 am. The race begins and ends near John Howell Park. Plan you travel around the neighborhood with this in mind. You can find the route map at this webpage You can also find contact information if you would like to volunteer or be a sponsor for the event.

Slow Down Yard Signs

Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell is making yard signs available as part of a campaign to slow traffic in our neighborhoods. For more information of if you would like to reserve a yard sign, follow the link.

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 reported in Beat 601 or Zone 6.

Rape None reported in Beat 601 and one reported in Zone 6.

Pedestrian/Carjacking Robbery None reported in Beat 601 and seven reported in Zone 6.

Residential Robbery None reported in Beat 601 and one reported in Zone 6.

Commercial Robbery None reported in Beat 601 and two reported in Zone 6.

Aggravated Assault None reported in Beat 601 and six reported in Zone 6

Residential Burglary One reported in Beat 601 (with an arrest made). Fifteen were reported in Zone 6.

Five pairs of jeans and two jackets were stolen from an apartment on Briarcliff Court.

Commercial Burglary None reported in Beat 601 and six reported in Zone 6.

Larceny From Vehicle Seven reported in Beat 601, and fifty-eight in Zone 6.

Vehicles were entered on Amsterdam, Bonaventure, Briarcliff Place, Cooledge, N. Highland, Ponce de Leon Ave., and Virginia. In one case the vehicle was not locked, but entry was generally made via broken windows. On Cooledge the license plate was stolen from a vehicle and a different one was left in its place. In another case the victim left her purse with $2,000 cash under the seat. In addition, victims lost cell phones, laptops, iPods, wallets with ID, debit and credit cards, and cash. The thieves also scored two handguns.

Note that multiple vehicle break-ins at one address result in one report. Therefore, the seven reported larcenies included thefts from fourteen vehicles. I know we are a broken record on this subject, but please clean out your cars and encourage visitors to do the same. The most worthless gym bag left in view will prompt a broken window just to see if there might be something good inside. And PLEASE secure handguns in a secure gun safe or at least a locked trunk.

Other Larcenies One reported in Beat 601 and forty-five in Zone 6.

Threadz on St. Charles suffered a shoplifting incident on February 3rd. Two young men entered the shop and began quizzing the clerk about availability of a particular item. While he went to the back to look, they made off with jeans and shoes.

Auto Theft Two reported in Beat 601, and fourteen in Zone 6.

A 1997 Maroon Neo was stolen from the parking lot at Paris on Ponce, and a 2010 white Ford was taken from Los Angeles Ave.

If this report was forwarded to you and you would like to be added to the distribution, please send a message to me at with your name, email address, and affiliation. Thanks.

Stay Safe!

Kay Stephenson

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