By Henry Bryant
After two murders – one involving an armed robbery and an additional shooting – in East Atlanta during the month of May, residents there have become more concerned than usual. There also have been the usual car break-ins in the area – although maybe with a little springtime increase in frequency and number. Representatives from Neighborhood Planning Unit-W and the East Atlanta Community Association have swung into action, getting the facts of the cases and reaching out to police and elected officials about the crimes and what might be done to improve the situation. In this they have worked closely with Major Meadows of Zone 6 as well as Council Member Archibong, who has also been busy reaching out to Police Chief Turner for immediate solutions above what was already in place. The June EACA meeting was devoted to a discussion of Public Safety in the neighborhood.
NPU-W Chairman Ed Gilgor, who has been one of the leaders of the community effort gave us this background info:
Two murders is obviously two too many. However, it is critical that people understand the following things about these heinous crimes:
1) There was no relationship between these crimes.
2) The first killing involved a business dispute over an illicit transaction (Metropolitan Avenue).
3) The second killing was another robbery (which is a serious crime in and of itself) and the likely reason for the killing was some form of non-compliance or perceived non-compliance (Flat Shoals at May Avenues).
4) The police presence in East Atlanta has been greatly enhanced (obviously we cannot give out details as that would almost certainly filter down to the criminals).
5) Chief Turner has authorized Major Meadows to expend overtime funds in order to get the number of officers he needs out and about.
6) We are working to make sure that all streets surrounding the business district are adequately lit.
Gilgor also provided us with this list of things that we all can do to keep the neighborhood and ourselves safer. He says, “At the same time, I think it is equally important to stress this is not the first, nor will it be the last, time we have seen a surge in crime.”
What can citizens do:
1) If you see a car sitting on a street with people inside it for an extended period (say 5 minutes) and they are not interacting with anyone on the street, CALL 911! Let the police figure out if there is anything illicit happening.
2) Report all non-functioning street lights: http://www.georgiapower.com/business/outdoor-lighting/report-outage.cshtml?mnuopco=gpc&mnuType=res
3) Keep all lights in front of your house on so as to maximally illuminate the street.
4) Consider installing motion detector lights so as to cover your driveway and front walkways.
5) Call the police anytime you see something suspicious.
6) If you are walking after dark, walk with a flashlight and be alert.
7) If you come upon a police officer on patrol, thank them for being here. It makes a difference for them when they know that their presence is appreciated and not resented.
8) Contact the mayor at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask him what he is doing to help get more police onto Atlanta’s streets and why he has not been seen so far in East Atlanta.
What to do if you are accosted by a robber:
1) Do not make direct eye contact with the robber.
2) Comply with all instructions, except refuse to get into a vehicle.
3) Do not attempt to bargain with them or ask if you can please keep your Costco card (you can always get another one).
4) Do not argue with them.
5) Do nothing to antagonize them.
6) Go to the nearest house and immediately ask to use the phone to call the police and report the crime immediately! DO NOT WAIT! SECONDS CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
7) Write down whatever you can remember about the robber (clothing, tattoos, scars, other identifying marks, vehicle, or weapon).
Crime in East Atlanta
By Henry Bryant