As commander for Zone 5, of the Atlanta Police Department, I welcome each of you back to your office and hope that you all enjoyed your families and a well deserved time way from the office, during the recent holidays. As business leaders, property managers, logistical solvers, and residents, I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for your interests, initiatives, and efforts that you applied to public safety matters, here in Zone 5, during the 2008 year. The men and women of Zone 5, and our numerous police and security forces, are anxious to address crime for our community, for the 2009 year, but are not optimistic that it can be done, completely, without you and your organization's assistance.
Therefore, I am asking for your assistance to reduce Zone 5's crime for the 2009 year. During the 2008 year, Zone 5 was plagued by two types of incidents: Panhandling and larcenies from autos. However, larcenies from autos were not a Zone 5 matter, solely. The following data will indicate how awful those crimes plagued our city - 2007 versus 2008:
- Zone 1: 1085 vs. 1057 = 3% increase - Northwest Atlanta
- Zone 2: 2178 vs. 1578 = 38% increase - Buckhead
- Zone 3: 1163 vs. 1076 = 8% increase - Southeast Atlanta
- Zone 4: 1139 vs. 984 = 16% increase - Southwest Atlanta
- Zone 5: 3836 vs. 3545 = 8% increase - our areas of responsibilities [Five Points, Peachttree Center, SoNo, Old Fourth Ward, Midtown, Ansley Park, Atlantic Station, Home Park]
- Zone 6: 1885 vs. 1315 = 43% increase - East Atlanta [Cheshire Bridge Rd, Ansley Mall, Morningside, VaHi, Inman Park, Candler Park, entire Moreland Avenue corridor]
- City: 11286 vs. 9555 = 18% increase (through 12/16/08)
As you see, these crimes affected our City tremendously and are likely to become worse, with our economy's current state - these crimes were nearly 50% of Zone 5's Part I crimes (Homicides, Rapes, Robberies, Aggravated Assaults, Burglaries, Larceny from Autos, Other Larcenies, and Auto Thefts). Arrests are simply not the solution, as an illustration: Zone 5 arrested 114 subjects for breaking into cars for the 2008 year. Collectively, those subjects have been arrested a grand total of 2080 times, to this point! 30 of them are still in jail, but 84 are back onto our streets. Can you believe that we arrested 28 of them, in Zone 5 alone, more than once, during the year, for these incidents!
Thus, we have to take a different approach, one that is very simple, but will require everyone's efforts. I would like to call the effort the "Clean Car" initiative. Simply, by removing all viewable valuables from your vehicle, prior to leaving your vehicle, you will reduce the odds of your vehicle being, illegally, entered by nearly 95%! Secondly, our parking lot owners, managers, and attendants must inquire, with their customers, were all valuables removed? Additionally, we have to remind our co-workers, clients, residents, family, and friends to remove ALL items (we once had a vehicle's window busted as a result of fifteen cents left on the console's coin area)!
Again, this is a very simple approach, but if we remove the supply the criminal element will view the area as no longer lucrative and will take their efforts elsewhere. Our citizens can now have a greater expectation of returning to their cars, without any damages or thefts. There is no ticket or anything else to place on your vehicle - as the suspect peers into your vehicle and sees nothing inside they are likely to move on to another area.
This allows us to lower crime, minimizes insurance rates, and affords the public safety entities to address and minimize other matters for the community. Eventually, we all can enjoy the quality-of- life that downtown Atlanta was designed for, which will likely bring more conventions, businesses, and attractions to our area. Please, let us assess how beneficial this simple plan can work for us. And, unlike other initiatives and studies, this one is measurable immediately: we can assess how well we are doing, which parking lot, offices, and residents are participating, and who is not. A list will be forwarded to you monthly to allow us to assess our efforts. Moreover, as I visit your properties I will ask your employees how is the "Clean Car" campaign developing?
Lastly, I am humbled by your past efforts and partnerships. I certainly believe that if we work in unison, to curtail the criminal's efforts, we can easily reduce their labors and show what synergy really provides! If there are questions or suggestions please inform me at your earliest convenience. I thank you for your assistance, partnership, and your desire to enhance our City's perception. If I may be of other assistance please contact me at 404-697-3511 (cellular).
Yours for a better Atlanta,
Major Khirus E. Williams, Zone 5 commander
200 Spring Street / Atlanta, Georgia 30303)