ATLANTA - Officers have been moved from writing traffic tickets to now patrolling the streets. Homeowners are welcoming the change because they said crime has changed from carjackings to crime right in their driveway in Buckhead.
In this one zone, there are about ten officers, who on an annual basis write tens of thousands of tickets to bring in millions of dollars to the city coffers, but are now being diverted to what commanders are calling a more important role. They will be making people feel safe and tackling crime directly.
In the Buckhead community, some families have had to run to safety, away from carjackers, others probably unwisely try to challenge a criminal and are so angry they try to brandish a weapon.
Away from the commercial strip, one Buckhead neighborhood leader said the crime concerns have changed.
“Up until the last couple of years, you know, rummaged through a car or steal some change, or you know, a phone, we all kind of lived with that, no big deal. But I think when it started to get to homes being invaded, robberies on the street, it's just not, you know, it's not safe. Crime is at a different place, and we need, you know, the Atlanta police department to react to that,” homeowner Allyson Delius.
Major Barry Shaw, the new Atlanta Police Department Zone 2 commander, said is they have already reacted. For decades, a squad of officers was assigned to a dedicated Buckhead traffic team which could sit on a corner and watch motorist after motorist roll through a stop sign, easy pickings to write tickets. Recently Major Shaw redeployed those ten cops from the traffic team to an Intensive Crime Prevention and React Squad.
“Doing surveillance on parking lots, where cars are getting broken into, being out there in unmarked cars where you can watch neighborhoods that have had burglary problems, and doing more monitoring of the license plate readers,” Major Shaw told FOX 5’s Morse Diggs in an exclusive interview. “Last week, we were able to arrest a suspect that was in a car that was carjacked out of Gwinnett County. A large amount of drugs in the car, so there’s a lot of criminals that are traveling past these license plate readers.”
“We are so excited we have got Major Shaw, who is looking at these things, and we are looking forward to working with them,” said Delius.
To give a little perspective to how this could be a major change for the entire metro Atlanta area, the criminals are stealing cars to go into the neighborhoods to commit burglaries and heading to the gas stations to perform what police describe as sliding, stealing another car. Now these officers can be deployed in certain areas where those license tag readers are, then when they get a pop on a hot car, the officer will be right there, following that car, and when those folks get out, they will surround them and arrest them before those criminals can perform a more dangerous or costly crime.