With the holidays approaching, the mercury dropping and daylight becoming shorter in supply, now is a good time to revisit the simple actions you can take to maintain your personal safety and that of your belongings.
The experts from Midtown Blue, the Midtown Alliance supplemental public safety program that works in coordination with the Atlanta Police Department (APD), want to remind you about these important seasonal tips to fold into your daily routine:
1. Running errands: Avoid the temptation to dash inside and leave your car running.
The district has experienced a 12% increase in auto thefts this year versus last. According to police reports, many victims are starting their vehicle and leaving the vehicle running while they step away to run an errand. Of the 66 auto thefts that have occurred in the district so far in 2018, 27 of the victims indicated they left the keys in the vehicle, and most vehicles were running at the time they were stolen. This accounts for 40% of the auto thefts. Any time you are away from your car - to pay inside for gas, to pick up a food order, or for any reason - lock it and take the keys with you.
2. At the parking lot: Remember to lock your car and keep all valuables out of sight.
Theft from vehicles continues to be the most frequent type of crime activity occurring in Midtown. So far in 2018, we have seen an average of 7 vehicle break-ins per week among the district’s 63K parking spaces. Incidents are split evenly between surface lots and decks. With holiday shopping cranking up, and many people stowing gifts in their cars to keep them secret from recipients, it’s important to keep purchases and valuables out of sight, or better yet, out of your car entirely. Clean out your car so it looks uninteresting to would-be thieves. And keep it locked.
3. On the road at dusk: Double-down on staying alert for people walking and biking.
Daylight savings time ends November 4, which will shift earlier the onset of darkness during the evening rush hour commute. It always takes a while for people to catch up to the changing conditions, but the weeks following “fall back” or “spring forward” are perennially among the most dangerous weeks out on the roads. If you’re in a car at dusk, slow down and look twice at intersections. If you’re on a bike or on foot, wear something reflective and consider carrying a flashlight or blinkie to make yourself more visible.
Your Role in a Safer Midtown
Public safety is a shared responsibility. Help the Midtown Blue team do the best job they can by doing the best job you can. The most important things to consider:
- Go with your instincts. If you observe a situation or a person’s behavior that looks out of place, report it. No matter how inconsequential it might seem.
- In an emergency, call 911 first. The hierarchy for incident response is to start with 911. APD’s on-duty officers and the off-duty APD officers representing Midtown Blue work side-by-side, constantly sharing radio communication. Then, call Midtown Blue second.
- For non-emergencies and quality of life concerns when you’re in the Midtown Improvement District, contact Midtown Blue first at 404-817-0050 to speak with someone on our team. Then, call 911 to report the issue so it gets tracked for the purpose of allocating future resources to APD Zone 5.