Police say crime is down in Buckhead, but more work to be done

FOX 5's Alex Whittler is going zone-by-zone with police majors in Atlanta to talk about their biggest problems and possible solutions.

Last week, we took you to Northwest Atlanta's Zone 1-- where crime is up almost 20%. This week, Atlanta Police Zone 2 Major Ailen Mitchell says crime is down 10% in Buckhead. 

There have been several violent robberies and shootings at Lenox square. A fatal one at Phipps Plaza ripped a hole in a family when 7-year-old Kennedy Maxie tagged along for Christmas shopping in 2020. Social media erupted when a man jumped from a parking garage's 5th floor to try to get away from police after breaking into cars. 

Buckhead often ‘makes headlines,’ but police say social media exacerbates incidents.

"A lot of times when incidents happen it's on a social media site or on Instagram before people call 911," Major Mitchell said. "Before, if it didn't make regular news you didn't hear about it, so it's not the types of incidents that have changed, but the way people know about it has changed."

Major Mitchell says car break-ins are one of the main issues plaguing the neighborhood at malls and in residential areas.

He credits the bike unit for catching many of those suspects.

"Over forty percent of our crime is car break-ins," he explained. "Because of that, we started bike units-- one out of the Buckhead precinct and one at Lenox mall."

Mitchell says the mall is safer these days thanks to cameras, off duty officers, a curfew and weapon detection.

"We get a lot of traffic calls, so beat officers can handle other types of crime.

Major Mitchell, who lived in the area for about 10 years, says the stigma surrounding the neighborhood isn't fair-- or entirely true. 

"Last year, we won the crime reduction award--the pin you see on my uniform. We're on track to win in 2022. That's the facts. We're down," he said.

He says arrests only do so much, considering many of those arrested have been in custody before.

"Criminals know the police are out here, but they also need to know that when they get caught by us, they're going to stay in jail." Mitchell said. "As long as we can get that piece to coincide, the criminals will get the message."