New Buckhead security plan to address crime includes more police patrols

A collection of Buckhead’s political, business and neighborhood leaders on Wednesday released a security plan to address crime. In recent months, residents and officials in Buckhead have grown increasingly worried about an uptick in violent crimes, including shootings and aggravated assaults. Commercial hubs like Lenox Square mall have seen several recent shootings, and nighttime street racing on Atlanta’s corridors became more frequent after the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The final product, called the “Buckhead Security Plan,” includes several short-term steps to increase security and police presence, and a list of 20 policy points largely focused on enforcement. We are taking action to reverse recent trends in crime, hold lawbreakers accountable, and restore citizen confidence that Buckhead is safe and secure, Jim Durrett, president of the Buckhead Coalition and executive director of the Buckhead Community Improvement District

A collection of Buckhead’s political, business and neighborhood leaders on Wednesday released a security plan aimed at addressing crime that proposes the creation of a new security patrol program.

In recent months, residents and officials in Buckhead have grown increasingly worried about an uptick in violent crimes, including shootings and aggravated assaults. Commercial hubs like Lenox Square mall have seen several recent shootings, and nighttime street racing on Atlanta’s corridors became more frequent after the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

That left many Buckhead residents on edge. Beginning in October, officials from the city, police department, Fulton County and various Buckhead civic organizations convened to discuss the issue.

The final product, called the “Buckhead Security Plan,” includes several short-term steps to increase security and police presence, and a list of 20 policy points largely focused on enforcement.

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“We are taking action to reverse recent trends in crime, hold lawbreakers accountable, and restore citizen confidence that Buckhead is safe and secure,” said Jim Durrett, the president of the Buckhead Coalition and executive director of the Buckhead Community Improvement District.

Both of Durrent’s organizations helped create the plan, which includes a dedicated security patrol for Buckhead’s commercial and residential areas.

The new patrol will be made up of officers from the Atlanta Police Department, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, the Georgia State Patrol and private security firms. That mirrors early discussions about a possible Buckhead security force made up of off-duty officers similar to the “Midtown Blue” program.

Over 90% of Buckhead’s 43 neighborhoods already have their own extra police patrol or security camera system. The Buckhead CID also pays for one extra Atlanta police patrol along Buckhead’s commercial corridors.

The new plan calls for the CID to fund two additional police patrols. The groups also want to create a strategic grid of security cameras and license plate readers in Buckhead.

The plan does not include figures for how much the new initiatives would cost.

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The coalition also released a list of 20 policy proposals, mostly related to enforcement and increasing support for APD. They include cracking down on “party houses,” enforcing the city’s noise ordinance and checking building permits of “problematic establishments” in Buckhead. A full list is available online.

“Many existing City of Atlanta policies and procedures are not producing expected results, and new approaches to problems are required,” the plan states.

Atlanta police responded to a shooting at a Buckhead gas station in September. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)
Atlanta police responded to a shooting at a Buckhead gas station in September. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Atlanta has seen a citywide increase in some violent crime this year, with homicides going up 42% compared to 2019.

In Zone 2, which includes Buckhead, APD reported an increase in aggravated assault and car theft this year, though larcenies and burglaries are down compared to last year.

Less than two weeks ago, a man was injured Friday afternoon during a shooting at the Lenox Square Apple store, leading Atlanta police to increase patrols at the mall.

The mall has been the site of at least six shootings in the past year, one of which was fatal. The Buckhead Coalition called the recent uptick in crime around the mall “disturbing” and said it has a detrimental impact on both residents and businesses in the area.

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