March 22, 2016

VaHi Safety Team Report Weeks Seven, Eight and Nine (2/7/16 – 2/27/16)

News and Notes

Citizen’s Police Academy

UPDATE: I have been informed that this class is now full. The next class will begin in June, so go ahead and contact Sgt. Claxton to register for that class.

The first class of the Citizen’s Police Academy is forming now and will run from March 23 – May 11, 2016. The program is designed to support the department’s mission of building partnerships with the community. It is an eight week experience held once per week, providing citizens with insight into the department and an opportunity to experience highlights of basic law enforcement training.

The Atlanta Citizen’s Police Academy is a great opportunity for citizens to become empowered to assist the police in transforming their communities. I participated in this program in 2009 and many others in the neighborhood have as well. I can tell you that the experience will change your perception of the Atlanta Police Department and law enforcement in general. For more information contact Sgt. Claxton at

Neighborhood Watch

Virginia-Highland is recognized throughout the city and beyond for the exceptional neighborhood watch program we have developed. Unlike such programs in other areas, the focus here is on helping neighbors to get to know each other, and to look out for each other. At the current time we have over 100 street captains who share information with neighbors. This person is your closest resource to learn what is happening on your street and how you can make your home and family safer. If you do not know who your street captain is, send an email to Eleanor Barrineau at with your name and street address so that you can be connected.

Also we still have a few streets without captains, and a few captains who could use a co-captain. Captains are needed for the following streets: Ponce de Leon Place, portions of Barnett, Monroe Drive, Virginia (section between Rosedale Rd and Briarcliff), Brookridge (section between Los Angeles and Elkmont). If you are interested, please email Eleanor at the address above and she will send you more information.

Even if your street already has a captain, we need your help! There are some important safety initiatives coming up, including improving house numbers, lighting, and additional security cameras. Streets or blocks can work on together on these projects, and we need some folks willing to help organize these efforts. Please let Eleanor know at the email address above if you can assist your captain. 

Ongoing Neighborhood Clean-up

The Keep Virginia Highland Beautiful team is working on a neighborhood-wide clean-up during the month of May. Stay tuned for details. In addition, please feel free to help keep the neighborhood looking good on a regular basis. 

If you are out walking and see flyers posted on telephone poles and anywhere in the public right-of-way please remove them and place them in a trash receptacle. Posting of such advertisements is not permitted by city code because over time such flyers become litter and make the neighborhood look trashy. You can also carry a grocery bag with you to pick up bottles and cans that have been discarded on sidewalks and in parks. Take them home and toss them in your own recycling bin. 

If customers tend to smoke outside in front of your business and leave butts on the ground, take a few minutes each day to remove them. Virginia-Highland is seeing significant competition of new entertainment districts in Inman Park, Old Fourth Ward, West Midtown, etc. so we need to make our commercial districts as inviting to visitors as we can.

Community Meeting with LifeLine Animal Project

Virginia-Highland is a dog and cat loving community. Almost daily we hear about or are directly involved with cats and dogs that need help or are lost. This is a serious safety issue for the animals, but also for the residents and businesses who try to help. With LifeLine Animal Project now operating Fulton County Animal Services and committed to make Atlanta a no-kill city, we want to learn more about how we can all work together. The meeting will be held on Wednesday April 20th. Find more information here.

Neighborhood Traffic

This week the intersection of Barnett and Virginia Circle was upgraded from a two-way to a four-way stop. In addition to making everyone aware of this change, it is a good time to mention how important it is to come to a full stop at all stop lights, stop signs, for pedestrians, etc. If you are one of those who commonly uses a rolling stop, be aware that you can (and should) be ticketed for this practice. 

What is the difference between a full stop and a rolling stop? A rolling stop is a term used in traffic law to refer to the failure of a vehicle to come to a complete stop. In a complete stop there is no forward momentum and the needle on the speedometer is at 0. In a rolling stop, the car wheels are still in motion and the car is moving at something less than 5 mph. 

When I took driver’s education in high school our instructor described the full stop as that point when inertia was no longer trying to pull your body forward and your torso relaxed back against the seat. A rolling stop works fine for a yield sign, but for a stop sign, the extra few seconds required for a full stop are the way to go – not only to avoid a ticket, but to ensure that you don’t miss that other vehicle that comes “out of nowhere”.

Jack Boy Robert Veal to be Re-Sentenced

Those who lived in Virginia-Highland in the fall of 2010 cannot forget the horrific crime spree of Tamario Wise, Robert Veal and the rest of their gang. Their crimes culminated in the murder of Charles Boyer here in Virginia-Highland and the rape of a woman in Grant Park. Mr. Veal was sentenced to life without parole despite the fact that at the time of these crimes he was six months shy of his 18th birthday. 

Yesterday we learned that the State Supreme Court allowed the verdicts to stand, but sent the case back to the lower court for reconsideration of the sentence. Read about that decision here

For more information on the original case as the roles of Wise and Veal here. Virginia-Highland neighborhood watch has requested that the sentence hearing be CourtWatched. More information about opportunities to share your concerns will be shared as it becomes available.

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 and none in Zone Six

Rape None reported in Beat 601 and one in Zone Six

Pedestrian/Carjacking Robbery Three reported in Beat 601 and nine in Zone Six

On February 21st the victims were walking on Greenwood Ave. were confronted by three black males with handguns. They gave up phones, cash, credit cards and house keys but were otherwise unharmed.

On February 23rd in a condominium parking area on Virginia two black males attempted to rob a woman at gunpoint. She was able to convince them that police were around the corner and the suspects fled. Neither the police nor the victim recommend trying to talk an armed assailant out of robbing you, but in this case, it worked out.

ARREST: On February 27th the victims left club MJQ and headed north on Ponce Place. At St. Charles Ave they passed the suspect vehicle. The two suspects exited and approached, one holding a shotgun and one holding a pellet gun (presumed to be real at the time). They demanded the victim’s belongings which included $175 in cash. One victim walked to a passing car hoping to scare the suspects away. Instead the passing car pulled off and the suspect pistol whipped the first victim in the eye.

This case was related to a robbery in Zone 5. By tracking a stolen cell phone the suspects were located in the same vehicle and detained. The shotgun also turns out to have been stolen in Arkansas. Marquis Tyrese Bolton was charged with armed robbery and Tyler Jaylen Bivens was charged with Aggravated Assault and Armed Robbery.

Residential Robbery None reported in Beat 601 and two in Zone Six

Commercial Robbery None reported in Beat 601 and one in Zone Six

Aggravated Assault One reported in Beat 601 and nine in Zone Six

On February 22nd at the Presbyterian Church on Ponce two individuals had an argument. The next day one of the individuals pepper sprayed the other in the face. 

Residential Burglary One reported in Beat 601 and twenty-three in Zone six

On February 11th copper wire was stolen from an electrical panel under construction.

Commercial Burglary None reported in Beat 601 and five in Zone six

Larceny from Vehicle Fifteen reported in Beat 601 and eighty-nine in Zone six

Vehicles were entered on Amsterdam, Clemont, Drewry, Highland View, N Highland, Ponce de Leon, Rosedale Drive, Rosedale Road, and Virginia Ave. Two incidents (Drewry, and Rosedale Road) the tires and wheels were stolen from the vehicles. Entry was made via broken windows, punched locks, and unlocked doors (three cases). Taken were camera equipment, cash, cell phones, laptops and tablets, wallet and ID, passports, an XBOX, luggage and clothing, handbags and prescription medication. Once again a handgun was stolen this time a Ruger .380.

Other Larcenies One reported in Beat 601 and thirty-seven in Zone six

On February 24th someone stole a bird bath from the back yard of a residence on Hudson Dr.

Auto Theft One reported in Beat 601 and thirty in Zone six  

On February 22nd a vehicle was stolen from the street on N. Highland between Los Angeles and Glen Arden.

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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