APD Safety Report for Second Half of 2011
Attached is the safety data briefed at the Town Hall Meeting on January 26, 2012, by Chief George Turner and Major Chris Leighty, Zone 5 Commander. Data from this period indicates an increase of 6% for total Part 1 Crimes in the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District. The increase was most prevalent in Auto Theft and Burglary. Auto Theft started to increase Citywide during the year, and Chief Turner has since implemented a Regional Auto Theft Task Force. The burglary increase, which was more prevalent in the periphery of the Downtown District, is attributed somewhat to the suppression operations in the core Downtown, hotel and convention areas. Additional resources are being refocused to concentrate on these troubled areas. On the contrary, crime incidents were significantly reduced in the Railroad District. This was a result of targeted suppression operations by Zone 5. On an annualized basis, the Downtown area is still down significantly from previous years, with the exception of 2010, which was phenomenal. The beat realignment was completed in December, which reduced Zone 5 by two beats (Old Fourth Ward and Auburn Avenue Historic District), but did not reduce any patrol assets. This will improve crime-fighting with more officers focusing on a smaller area. Zone 5 overall reduced crime by -1% from the previous year as a whole. Larceny-related crimes comprise 71% of Downtown’s crime, with 41% being Larceny from Auto. This is an ongoing challenge for Downtown, with its high density of vehicles, particularly visitor vehicles. Fortunately, the few violent crimes that do occur are rarely stranger on stranger. It is no wonder that Zone 5 arrests comprised 28% of the City’s total arrests for 2011. The officers of Zone 5 are aggressive in their enforcement and prevention efforts.
Moving forward, there are new initiatives to support the reduction in crime for the coming year. In addition to the Regional Auto Theft Task Force, Zone 5 has implemented a dedicated Crime Suppression unit operating out of the Underground Precinct. The Special Team will work where and when they need to in the Downtown area to suppress crime. They will not be answering 911 dispatched calls, but rather focusing completely on their mission. Foot Beats have been assigned to areas and put on bikes or Segways to increase their mobility and response time. Zone 5 is engaging other APD assets to maximize all available resources, as well as reaching out to their private sector partners and other agencies with joint patrols. Major Leighty will target those problematic areas that showed an increase in incidents during this period.
The new SkyWatch system has been deployed regularly since its launch last month. It had a significant impact on Larceny from Autos during the AmericasMart Marketplace, particularly in those areas with a high number of surface lots. It will continue to be deployed where the need is most significant. Major Leighty stressed the need for continued efforts to support the Clean Car Campaign, displaying the newest sign for issue to parking lots to warn patrons about leaving items in their vehicles. Curbing Larceny from Auto incidents will have a significant impact on overall crime in Downtown.
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David E. Wardell, CPP
Vice President, Operations and Public Safety
Central Atlanta Progress, Inc. & Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, Inc.