Mason Woods Burglars ApprehendedApril 27, 2014 – John Bugge, Mason Mill Civic Association
As I mentioned briefly at the Spring Fling picnic — just before the rains came — there was a break-in and smash-and-grab burglary last night (Saturday) on Mason Woods Drive.
Here, below, is a message from Brian Craig, the owner of the house that was hit, relating what happened and, more important, what kind of precautions we should all be taking.
One special point to add: when you hear an alarm go off in your vicinity, don’t assume it’s a false alarm; rather, have a look around outside and check to see if there’s any suspect activity going on. If you see something that doesn’t look right, call 911.
From: Brian Craig
Sent: Sunday, April 27, 2014
As discussed, here is a recap of our conversation this morning.
On the evening of April 26 at 9:53 pm, our home alarm was triggered by thieves who used a crowbar to pry open our side entrance (carport) door. Thankfully, neither my wife nor myself were in the house at the time (on a related note, the carport was empty of cars and, thus, may have presented a target to criminals).
We believe the thieves were in our house for a very brief period, probably less than two minutes. They stole our computer and our TV, but did not take the time to ransack the place, possibly due to the alarm. They drove away in two vehicles, as observed by neighbors down the street who were outside double checking their own car; when they heard an alarm sounding throughout the neighborhood, they believed it to be their car alarm. At that moment, they saw the two vehicles traveling away and gave a description of one (White Chevrolet Suburban).
Our alarm company is ADT, and the signs are prominently displayed in the front yard. However, ADT NEVER received the “alarm” signal, and they had absolutely no idea that the alarm had gone off. Consequently, they never called the police.
We are especially grateful to Myra & Eric who heard the alarm and immediately phoned 911.
(FYI, most alarms will activate for a set amount of time, then turn off. They do not ring indefinitely.)
The DeKalb County police arrived about 10:20 pm and waited outside until my wife came home. They checked and cleared the house and took information for their report.
Shortly after midnight, we received a call from the City of Decatur police. They had pulled over a Grey Jeep for a traffic violation. The Jeep did not pull over immediately, but once it came to a stop all the occupants jumped out and ran in different directions. The City of Decatur police processed the vehicle, determined it was stolen and found our stuff in the back.
Perhaps, a couple of things the neighborhood should be aware of:
1. Alarm companies are not infallible; had our neighbors not taken the immediate initiative to call 911 the Dekalb police would not have been alerted. If you hear an alarm, any time day or night, call 911 ASAP.
2. Homes without vehicles in the drive can prove tempting targets, despite visible signage. Additionally, the Dekalb police expressed surprise that we were robbed at 10:00 pm on Saturday night, as opposed to the more popular ‘M-F during business hours when most homes are vacant’ time slot. Our intruders worked quickly, taking only a couple of minutes to grab some valuable items.
3. The information gleaned from our experience suggests a new modus operandi: drive thru neighborhoods in a stolen vehicle (or two) and locate homes that appear empty, no matter the time of day or night and bust in.
We hope that sharing these details will assist our neighbors to prevent criminal activity from reaching their homes. Please feel free to follow up with any questions or comments.
Brian & April
Advance Voting Has Begun
Locations for Advanced Voting [click here]
Early voting continues through May 16
Monday through Friday, Hours 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Plus Saturday, May 10, 2014 – 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
The election will be held May 20.
Check Your Status and Get Your Sample Ballot
Last year several Georgia voters were taken off the voter rolls that shouldn’t have been. Don’t wait until you go vote to find out this has happened to you. Check your voter registration and get your sample ballot. It’s fast and easy to do online. [Click here]
Neighborhood Watch Training and Tour of the 911 Center
Last week’s meeting provided details on how to set up a neighborhood watch and included a tour of the renovated DeKalb 911 center. Another meeting earlier this year, which I attended with COVE board member Erika Birg, covered making your property “hardened” against criminal activity.
There were about 50 people attending from various neighborhoods throughout the county.
– Weekdays are the prime time for break-ins while many are away at work
– Police are interested in patterns of suspicious activity and need you to call whenever you see something suspicious. Something you see combined with someone from another neighborhood, might contribute to a criminal being identified and apprehended. Police are just as interested as you in catching criminals and don’t mind if a lead doesn’t pan out. If in doubt, CALL THE POLICE!
– Police resources are limited so responses are prioritized. It might take over an hour to get an officer to the scene of a car break-in, after the fact. If you feel you are in danger, these calls will be prioritized, and if possible, police will be to your location in minutes.
– If there are recent incidents in the neighborhood, a patrol car can be requested to patrol the neighborhood randomly. (I’ve seen these myself in VE in the day and evening).
– Use your cellphone cameras and take pictures of cars and tags that look suspicious.
– Don’t put large television boxes out at the curb. These make your house a prime target. Cut them up first and turn the label inside out.
– Report any crime on your property to the police. This is important information and not doing so is a disservice to your neighbors
Victoria Estates is located in the North Central police precinct with its headquarters being at 1960 W. Exchange Place, also the county police headquarters. Our representative is detective Al Fowler 770-724-7616.
Neighborhood watches harden the relationship between the neighborhood and police.
Detective Fowler discussed how to set up a neighborhood watch, providing paperwork with detailed instructions. Neighborhood watches extend the eyes and ears of the police and can be very effective in reducing crime. Bringing a neighborhood watch back to VE would be easier now with the use of social media, texting, etc.
Check out the crime map (click on the map) to see recent activities in the neighborhood and throughout the county.
Dog Walker Watch
Dog Walker Watch is a new component of neighborhood watches that involves training the many dog walkers, already observing the neighborhood, to effectively report suspicious activity.
Nextdoor which is already being used by many VE neighbors was also identified as an important tool in lowering crime and is embraced by the DeKalb Police Department.
Stop Neighborhood Speeding
Peds.org information was provided that included statistics on pedestrian fatalities:
– Hit by a vehicle traveling at 20 miles per hour: 9 out of 10 pedestrians survive
– 30 mph: 5 of 10 pedestrians survive
– 40 mph: 1 of 10 pedestrians survive
Some helpful numbers were provided which I’ll add to Nextdoor.com and the COVE website. They include:
Detective Al Fowler (Public Education): Al Fowler 770-724-7616.
Domestic Violence: 404-688-9436
Senior Abuse Hotline: 800-677-1116
Emergency Dispatch: 911 or 678-406-7929
Records (copy of Police Reports) : 770-724-7740
Crime Stoppers Tip Hotline: 404-577-8477
Independent Audit for County Commissioners
April 23, 2014 – Kathie Gannon
Yesterday the Board of Commissioners took the first step forward into sunshine and transparency. Commissioner Rader and I introduced the attached resolution calling for an independent audit of all spending for the past 5 years by each County Commissioner starting with District 1. The audits will include Purchase Cards, all other expenditures and all commission staff. The resolution directs the County to hire a Certified Internal Auditor or a Certified Government Audit Professional using funds previously budgeted for an internal auditor. The resolution was modified by Commissioner Barnes-Sutton to start with District 6 (my District) and to go back 10 years and then begin with District 1. This substitute motion passed without a dissenting vote. Commissioner Barnes-Sutton later attempted to call for a reconsideration of her substitute motion, however that failed. Please see the attached resolution that calls for an audit of all County Commission expenditures.
Super District 6 Commissioner
6:30 – 8:00 pm
1300 Commerce Drive
If a large-scale disaster happens in DeKalb County, will you and your family be prepared? Do your family members know how to get in contact with each other during an emergency? Officials with the DeKalb Emergency Management Agency will address these and related topics to educate participants on becoming prepared and ready to respond to natural and man-made disasters.
In observation of Earth Week. The walk will begin at 6:15 pm at the PATH trail, starting in the Gresham Park Rec Center Parking Lot, 3113 Gresham Road.