Last fall, Police Chief George Turner hosted a public safety meeting. He started by saying that overall crime in Atlanta is down 86%, but he had to admit a fact that we in Buckhead all know, auto theft and home invasions are UP! Many of the criminals are repeat offenders, said Chief Turner, “young black males,(who) “are caught multiple times breaking into cars, keep getting released back into society to commit new crimes.” He blamed the revolving door handling of repeat offenders, especially juvenile ones, on laissez-faire judges. Complicating this, we also know that the response time to 911 calls is sometimes slower than we would like as officers are sometimes busy in higher priority calls.*
That is the situation we are faced with today. The obvious question is, what can we do to protect ourselves and our families? The answer is, we need to be better informed on what to do, we need to be more vigilant, and we need to take action when confronted with suspicious activity. In short, we need to prepare ourselves for the environment in which we live today, we can’t look the other way when we observe something out of the ordinary just because we are in a hurry, or don’t want to become involved.
I have written before that security is a three-legged stool, it takes the police, our security patrol and US to make our neighborhood safe. Working together we CAN make a difference. If you see something, DO something! Learn to trust our gut, after all, your gut feeling is a compilation of your prior experience. If you see something or somebody that doesn’t feel or look right, it probably isn't, CALL 911! The police WANT you to call. Calling 911 not only causes a response from the on duty police, it also alerts our security patrol of off duty and retired officers who carry police radios and who hear the dispatch. If patrolling, they can often respond quicker than on duty officers.
During the holidays, we were especially vigilant and fortunate. As is our policy, we increased our patrol hours by 50% from Thanksgiving through New Years.
We are very fortunate, our record of criminal activity is far below surrounding neighborhoods. Let’s keep it that way; be a tuned in neighborhood, one that is tuned into security, is alert to and takes action to report suspicious activity. Lastly, since about 90% of Association dues go to funding our security patrol, encourage your neighbors to join. More members means more security patrol hours!
* Excerpted from a public safety meeting 9-10-15 reportby TPCA President Mercy Sandbur-Wright
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