Published on July 26th, 2016 |12
Rash of Buckhead crimes has Facebook, neighborhood online chat sites abuzz
A rash of auto thefts, thefts from autos, a beating of a man in front of his home, local robberies, shootings and a series of other public safety issues has the Garden Hills neighborhood abuzz with online chatter and formation of a new group, Fighting Crime in Buckhead and Beyond.
Mayor Kasim Reed and the Atlanta Police Department can tell these residents over and over that crime is down, but they see and hear something quite different—almost nightly occurrences of crimes in their neighborhood that previously seemed relatively immune, at least to them.
They are aware of the bigger crimes going on in Buckhead: the killing of a 25-year-old woman who just happened to step in the line of fire between two groups in a shootout; the late afternoon robbery of a clothing store in the West Village; the smash-and-grab theft of $23,000 worth of cameras from a shop on Piedmont Road, and many more reported.
Not all the incidents being talked about are taking place in Garden Hills, but they are close enough—like in the Peachtree Hills and Peachtree Heights neighborhoods—to raise the anxiety level of those who live in the area.
Some incidents didn’t even happen in these neighborhoods, but directly affected people who live there and thus have them on edge.
All this when the already-understaffed APD had 35 or so of its officers in Cleveland last week providing security for the Republican National Convention and will have a similar amount or more in Philadelphia this week providing security for the Democrats.
Here are just a few of the reports that have been posted within the past several days on either Facebook or the Garden Hills Nextdoor community online network:
Early during the week of July 18, a male resident who lives on East Wesley in Garden Hills was attacked about five feet in front of his house by three men as he approached his front door.
The three men came up from behind him and he described the attack that followed as about 45 seconds “of what I can only describe as pure rage by these guys. If it weren’t for my motion detector flood lights that scared them off I probably wouldn’t be here to write this.”
The victim said he can’t say for certain, but can only assume it was the same group that broke into six cars and stole a Chevy Tahoe about an hour and a half after the attack.
The incident the man referred to involved at least three individuals in a white van who were videotaped checking out cars parked on Eureka Drive in Peachtree Hills on that Tuesday night (July 19) to see what they could steal by breaking into the cars. One car was stolen that night in Peachtree Hills, presumably by the same group.
Another resident on Kenlock in Peachtree Heights East neighborhood reported that their car was broken into that same night and it appears they attempted to steal it.
“It is beyond belief what is happening in our community,” wrote the victim of the physical attack on East Wesley. “Ironically, I had just left a fundraiser at the St. Regis for Richard Lankford who is running for Fulton County sheriff when this happened.”
The attacked individual’s advice to all: “Be diligent and pay attention to your surroundings, because if this can happen to me at my front door on a Tuesday evening on East Wesley, it can happen to anyone anywhere in Buckhead.”
Another Garden Hills resident reported on Nextdoor, “Exact same thing happened to my car last night on East Wesley. Not sure how they got into my car since the doors were locked but they rummaged through the glove box and center console. Seems typical these days…just wanted to make everyone aware.”
“We should raise money for neighborhood street cameras,” wrote another Garden Hills resident. “This is getting ridiculous. It’s an every night occurrence.”
Not all of the incidents involve crimes of stealing cars, thefts from autos or physical attacks on individuals. One Garden Hills resident wrote on Nextdoor, “I was dropping some stuff at Garden Hills Elementary school when three boys were doing doughnuts in the field on a small dune buggy type vehicle. They looked to be high school aged.”
She added, “The principal and assistant vice principal came outside to politely ask them to stop, but they sped off. From the looks of the way they took off at top speed and running, they obviously knew it was wrong.”
The woman explained in her online post, “The school is aggressively trying to grow grass in the middle of the field so they were particularly disappointed. I just thought the parents out there would want to know. Just a reminder I think that’s considered trespassing if not vandalism of school property.”
A couple of incidents were reported by neighborhood folk about crimes that occurred outside the neighborhood, but were cited as examples to be watchful of.
“Heads up to anyone living or working in Buckhead or nearby,” one neighbor wrote. “This is becoming more prevalent around here,” he warned.
“One of my employees cashed his paycheck at the B of A on Wieuca Rd at Roswell this morning (7/23) around 11am. It was a fairly substantial amount of money that also included reimbursements for materials he paid for out of pocket expenses,” the employer wrote.
“He left the bank and proceeded to a check on a couple of construction sites in Brookhaven and Buckhead. At one of them, he pulled in the site, walked around the back of the house (five minutes max) and when he returned his passenger side window was busted, the inside was strewn around and the money was gone,” the employer reported.
“We can all agree not to leave money in your vehicle and he knows this as well. He was only to be there five minutes.”
The employer said the police came and told his employee “he was followed from the bank and this is happening more frequently.” They said the thieves are targeting construction workers, late model premium cars and seniors.
“Please, whether you are at an ATM or go inside the bank, be aware of the people and the cars in the lot. Watch to see if someone pulls out behind you and follows you,” the employer cautioned.
A neighborhood woman reported online at Nextdoor a similar incident that took place at Phipps Plaza. She and her family went into Phipps and left in the car a brand new computer they had just purchased. They returned to find the car window busted out and the brand new computer stolen. The woman posted that the police officer the perpetrator(s) likely watched the purchase at the Apple store and followed them to Phipps and then stole it.
The police officer told the family they were lucky to have left it in the car because they likely would have used a gun had we tried to carry it in. The perpetrator(s) could have followed the family home as well.
Some online writers have talked about taking actions to personally protect themselves.
“The heartbreaking post from my Garden Hills neighbor, who was attacked Tuesday gave me the incentive to purchase mace,” wrote one woman. “…One for my key chain and one to be attached to my house key which I take when I walk my dog,” she added. “Silly. But in the dark, I plan to have the whistle around my neck.” She said all were purchased at Ace Hardware.
A new resident to the area asked on Facebook if anyone in the group has a concealed weapons permit. She said she had never been interested in getting a gun anywhere she had lived all over the world, but after being in Atlanta for six weeks she thinks she may need one and a license to carry it at all times.