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VaHi Safety Team Report

May 5, 2020

Table of Contents

Significant Incidents

Aggravated Assault 800-Block Briarcliff Terrace
On May 2 at 11:32 PM, police responded to a report of a person stabbed on the 800-block of Briarcliff Terrace. The victim explained that he and his friend, the suspect, were sitting outside his apartment, drinking beers. The victim and suspect got into an argument and the victim started to walk away into his apartment. The suspect then broke a beer bottle and came into the apartment behind him. When the victim turned to face the suspect, the suspect stabbed him in the left chest / shoulder area and then ran out of the apartment. An ambulance was called to provide medical attention and transport the victim to Atlanta Medical Center. Policeaccompanied the suspect’s wife home from the victim’s apartment to their home on Briarcliff Court, but the suspect was not home. 

Attempted Commercial Burglary 925 Los Angeles Ave NE 
On April 29, the priest from Church of Our Savior contacted police via telephone to file a report regarding an attempted burglary at the church on April 8. The priest advised that a Ring video camera alerted him to movement at the church around 9:23 PM. The priest observed a white male, late 20s to early 30s, with blond hair, wearing blue jeans and a blue plaid shirt on the video. The suspect periodically covered the Ring camera with his finger and attempted to pry the camera off its mount, but was not able to remove it. The suspect also tried to push open the door to the church with his shoulder, but was not successful. The priest went to the church and walked around, but did not find any forced entry, and the suspect had already fled. The priest did find a shovel laying on the ground, and noticed that two security lights near the side door were damaged. The priest did not recognize the suspect.

Residential Burglary 1000-Block Saint Charles Ave 
On May 5 at approximately 6:00 AM, multiple police units responded to a call regarding a commercial burglary at Threadz. Upon arrival, officers canvassed the area but were unable to see any damages to any building. While on scene, officers were approached by the caller who stated he was a maintenance worker at the apartment complex across the street. Upon further investigation, officers noticed shoe boxes inside the vacant commercial unit at 1056 Saint Charles Ave and discovered that one of the doors had been forced open. Officers entered the vacant unit and observed a hole in the wall at the rear of the building, leading into the restroom of the adjacent business. Officers were able to squeeze through the hole and observed an alarm box tore down from the wall. A witness stated he saw some people running around the building to a white pickup truck parked beside the building. Around this same time, another call in relation to suspicious persons, also driving a white truck, was received and police canvassed the area. At one point a pickup truck sped past, but by the time officers turned their vehicle around the pickup truck was lost.

Shots Fired 700-Block Brookridge Dr (Airbnb)
On May 25 at approximately 1:29 AM, police were dispatched to a shots fired call on the 700- block of Brookridge Dr. On arrival, the caller / witness stated that he and his partner had been lying awake in the back bedroom of their residence around 1:25 AM and heard four gun shots from a close distance, possibly inside the neighbor’s house or in the back yard. The witness jumped out of bed at the same time the motion sensor light in his back yard illuminated. As he walked through the house, slowly turning on lights, he saw a young black male, mid-20s around 5’11 and approximately 170 lbs at his window yelling. The male said “I don’t have my phone.” At this point, the witnessed called 911 and told the male “don’t squat in my back yard, that doesn’t seem safe for either of us.” The male ran off. After speaking with the witness, police went to speak to the residents at the adjacent home. Upon knocking on the door at the adjacent residence, two black males exited. One of the men, aged 17, identified himself and the other did not. Police asked the two males if they had heard any gunshots in the area or near the location. The males responded that the shots were fired at them. The unidentified male advised that they were returning from a nearby gas station, and upon arrival at the residence noticed a black truck parked nearby with the headlights off. Upon exiting their vehicle, the black truck turned on the headlights and sped off while firing gun shots toward the house. Officers requested permission to look inside the residence to search for any bullets or other evidence. The males advised that they were renting the home through Air BNB and claimed they could not give permission to enter the residence. Officers observed damage to the front window of the residence and found broken glass on the round near the front door and driveway. No shell casings or bullets were located on the street or the outside of the residence. Officers noticed a camera on the door of the residence. A sergeant arrived onscene and had spoken with the owner of the residence, who provided the door code and gave permission to enter the residence. No projectiles were located by the officers who searched inside. There were no reported injuries.


Please note a 2nd Airbnb Incident in Morningside this past weekend. From MLPA Safety:

Shootings on Yorkshire Last Night - We would like to advise neighbors that early this morning there was a nonfatal shootout on Yorkshire.  Fortunately, there were no injuries.  Because of the protests downtown and the potential for rumors, the MLPA wanted to promptly get accurate information out to the neighborhood. 

We would like to thank Morningside Patrol Lead, Major Rick Vazquez, for advising us immediately that this had occurred and to provide updated details. The house where this happened operates as an Airbnb.  Apparently, the renters had a large party that went into the early morning hours.  At some point, some of the party goers got into an argument that escalated into a gunfight.  Party-goers were shooting at a car leaving the house, and the car occupants were returning the fire.  Some houses were hit, but no one was hurt.  The Atlanta Police Department responded promptly, are talking with the renters and the owners of the house, and are continuing to investigate the situation.  

We hope the Atlanta Police will help contain this as an isolated incident and provide updated information as necessary.  In the meantime, please stay safe. 

We all understand the appeal of renting out a room or a second home for extra cash. However, owners need to be extra careful to know who is renting. In these two incidents no one was seriously injured - though there was property damage. However, just because these individuals couldn't shoot straight doesn't mean that a stray bullet can't kill. Please do everything possible to vet renters in advance, for the safety of your home and your neighbors. 


Commercial Burglary at 865 N. Highland Avenue (CVS)
On Saturday, May 30, 2020, police were dispatched to an alarm call at 865 N. Highland Ave NE (CVS Pharmacy). Upon arrival the officer immediately observed the front left glass door shattered out, the next door was also shattered out. Two officers made entry and cleared the building. They noticed the back door was open and the pharmacy wooden door was pried open and the lock was busted. The pharmacy seemed a bit rummaged through. Officers requested a key holder, and were advised that CVS was aware of the damage and will not be sending a key holder to the location and they did not need police to sit on the property. APD secured the back door and left.

COVID-19 Update

Governor Kemp has approved the re-opening of bars and nightclub effective on Monday June 1. In advance of that order we heard complaints of large gatherings without social distancing, masks, etc. in club areas like Edgewood Avenue. Our public safety counterpart in NPU-M, Dorthey Hurst, recently shared the following:


Just a reminder. As the governor issued his new orders yesterday and talked about Edgewood, he said his people would have done something if they had known it was happening. If there are COVID-19 violations, please call 404-624-6077. This is Georgia Department of Safety. They can close the business for one night and cite them. Also call 911. Thanks. Let's all work together to get this resolved.


We are all eager to see our local businesses back up and running, and I encourage everyone to be very thoughtful about this. However, if you see something that you are sure is violating the order established by Governor Kemp (executive orders here), and is creating a serious risk to the public, then you may consider reporting it in the manner suggested above. According to the AJC, the state Department of Natural Resources is also going to begin enforcing rules about social distancing, etc. at public recreation areas.

We are still in early days of the re-opening of our city and state. Public health officials are still urging caution including social distancing of at least six feet (recently we are hearing that twelve feet is much better), wearing masks, and sheltering at home if you are in a high risk group. Please do your part not only to protect yourself, but to protect others. 

Vote Safely 

Based on the numbers we are hearing from Fulton County it appears that many of you have already made the decision to vote absentee in the upcoming primary election to be held on June 9th. Though this may not affect our neighborhood, several precincts have had to make last minute adjustments to their in-person polling locations. This is due to the fact that the facility where people in that precinct normally vote may be closed, or in some cases (such as polling places located in senior high-rise buildings for example) it is not safe to allow crowds to enter the building. You can find and share information about those changes with friends and family. 

Another option, for those who have received their absentee ballot, but are concerned about it being received by Fulton County in time to be counted, is to use a ballot drop box. These boxes are located throughout the county, monitored remotely 24/7, and emptied daily. You can find drop box locations at this link. You also have the option to vote in person, even if you requested an absentee ballot. However, you must be prepared to take some time to do this as a poll worker will have to look up and change your status in the computer system. We have been told to expect this to take an extra 15-30 minutes. If you have received your absentee ballot, take it with you. 

Quick Notes

Event to Support BLM on Saturday - Residents have organized a family friendly protest to support Black Lives Matter. There will be a Stand-In along N. Highland Avenue from Noon - 2:00 pm and then those who are interested will march along Virginia Avenue to Piedmont Park starting at 2:00. You can find all of the details here. The organizers have ask that participants not block streets, but if he turn-out is large that may be difficult to manage. Please plan your travel accordingly.

Celebrate Summerfest Weekend - We know we have a lot of heavy stuff going on around us right now but we just couldn't let this weekend approach without a nod to our beloved Summerfest weekend. For many years now, Virginia-Highland residents have come together this first weekend in June to throw one hell of a neighborhood party and celebrate the beginning of Summer TOGETHER. VHCA and the Summerfest Committee have a couple of suggestions that we can do as a community to recognize this weekend.

1. Friday night Community Dinner: Join your neighbors on Friday, June 5th and eat dinner on your front porch. Since Summerfest has been rescheduled and we can't all have a community dinner like we usually do, we've decided to dine on our porches in the spirit of Summerfest/a community dinner.

2. Sidewalk Chalk: We're encouraging kids to decorate the sidewalks with sunshines in honor of Summerfest weekend.

We want you to share your photos here from this weekend or from Summerfest pasts for the community. You can also send photos to communications@vahi.org and we will post your photos. It's a Summer Bummer BUT we will see you in November!! 

Crime Statistics

Note that APD has changed the way they are reporting data. For example, we now only know the number of burglaries and not whether they were residential or commercial. We don't know if the Larcenies were shoplifting, car break-ins, or something else, and we don't know if the robberies being committed taking place at a residence, a commercial businesses or on a pedestrian. This makes any comparison with prior months and years useless, and does little to inform the public about what is happening in our communities. This issue has been elevated to Zone 6 command staff. 

May, 2020 Beat
  601   602   613   614
Aggravated Assault 1 1 -- --
Auto Theft 1 6 1 1
Burglary Non-Residential 2 2 5 --
Burglary Residential
Larceny From Vehicle 4 16 1 17
Larceny Non-Vehicle
Homicide -- -- -- --
Rape -- -- -- --
Robbery Commercial -- -- -- --
Robbery Pedestrian
Robbery Residential
Beat 601 = all of Virginia-Highland

Beat 602 = Poncey-Highland and Inman Park

Beat 613 = Morningside and parts of Piedmont Heights and Lindridge Martin Manor

Beat 614 = Part of Midtown East including the Garden District
May, 2020 Beat 601 Zone 6
Aggravated Assault 1 16
Auto Theft 1 43
Burglary Non-Residential 2 18
Burglary Residential
Larceny From Vehicle 4 141
Larceny Non-Vehicle
Homicide -- --
Rape -- --
Robbery Commercial -- 7
Robbery Pedestrian
Robbery Residential
   

Vehicles were entered on Virginia Avenue (3), and Briarcliff Court. 
If you are a resident and not connected with your street captain, please send a message to safety@vahi.org to be introduced.

If you are not a resident but would like to be added to the distribution for these reports, please send a message to me at VaHiSafety@gmail.com with your name, email address, and affiliation. Thanks.
 
Stay Safe!
 
Kay Stephenson
Copyright © 2020 Virginia-Highland Safety Team, All rights reserved.


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