Published on September 11th, 2015 |0
150 Buckhead residents urge APD chief: increase neighborhood patrols
More than 150 Buckhead residents showed up at Atlanta Police Chief George Turner’s public forum Thursday night (Sept. 10), expressing anger and fear over recent high-profile crimes and
demanding more officers to patrol their neighborhoods, according to the Buckhead Reporter.
“Our concern is house break-ins…We’re worried about the sanctity of our houses and the safety of our houses,” resident Brink Dickerson said, according to the report. “Zone 2 needs more cops.”
Many of the more than 150 residents attending the gathering at The Lodge Café at Piedmont Presbyterian Church told police officials, “We need more cops that are visible and on our streets more of the time. … We feel a little under-served right now,” the newspaper reported.
Turner reportedly told the residents attending the community meeting that the APD is authorized to employ 2,034 officers and now has only about 70 vacancies to fill. The department has about 100 recruits in training, he said.
In addition, Atlanta police use high-tech crime-fighting equipment, including a network of cameras spread throughout the city, that create “smart policing,” Dave Wilkinson, president of the non-profit Atlanta Police Foundation, said. The department now monitors about 5,700 cameras and plans to install as many as 10,000, Wilkinson said.
But homeowners weren’t satisfied. “We can talk about cameras all we want to, but we need more policemen in our neighborhoods,” Jana Unterman reportedly told the police officials.
Turner was heard (on an audio tape provided to BuckheadView) telling residents he sympathizes with their concerns, but officer attrition is an issue for every police department. He said training new officers is a months-long process and that new cops were on the way.
On the audio recording, he told residents that undercover officers have been a component of the car break-in investigation, and that he would send mounted officers to the neighborhood shortly.
Residents pointed to a series of car break-ins and reports of home invasions, and said they had seen reports on social media of people driving through neighborhoods as if scouting houses for possible thefts.
(For the full Reporter Newspaper story, go here.)
Councilwoman announces ‘Safety Net’ plan
Following the police chief’s public safety meeting, Dist. 8 Atlanta City Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean went across the street to the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods meeting, where she
announced plans to use $250,000 from her discretionary budget towards a partnership with the Atlanta Police Foundation to have more surveillance cameras and vehicle tag readers installed in District 8, which covers most of Buckhead west of Peachtree and Roswell roads.
Adrean said she was meeting with the foundation to design a strategy for installation of the cameras and tag readers to create what she called a “District 8 Safety Net.” The system will not be neighborhood oriented (which wouldn’t be the most effective use of resources), but district oriented.
Adrean said generous residents of the community (including one who paid to have Tuxedo Park wired for cameras) and local businesses will also be involved in helping to fund and decide locations for the cameras and tag readers.
“The cameras and tag readers won’t solve all our problems, but it’s a step in the right direction,” Adrean said.
(Editor’s Note: BuckheadView thanks BCN Secretary Gordon Certain for providing a copy of the meeting’s audio tape so that we could report on the activities of the meeting.)