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Midtown Ponce Security Alliance Crime Update

A look at MPSA patrol highlights; court watch update; mid-year financial report; and more.

Editor's note: The following information was posted recently by the Midtown Ponce Security Alliance (MPSA). The MPSA has served the Midtown community since 2003 as a non-profit organization by coordinating neighborhood response to public safety and security issues in order to advance the Midtown way of life. The MPSA achieves this objective primarily by operating a neighborhood security patrol funded by its resident and business members, and community sponsors. See here for more information about becoming a member of the MPSA.

MPSA Patrol Highlights – June 2012

During the month of June, the MPSA Patrol made 12 arrests, intercepted 14 calls via the 911-system, took 7 direct calls from members via the patrol hotline, conducted 15 vacation checks, and logged 212 hours of patrol service. Most of these arrests were for vagrancy-related issues, such as Urinating in Public and Pedestrian in Roadway. One of the arrests involved a warrant for possession of firearm by convicted felon.

June Highlights (in addition to petty arrests described above)

  • Entire Month: Sgt Bill Cooper removed illegal signs several times around Ponce & Boulevard.
  • Entire Month: Sgt Cooper noted that there is an uptick in packages being left unattended when members are out of town. When out of town, please arrange for packages to be intercepted so that criminals don’t find them before you do.
  • Entire Month: Reactivation of sunrise shift to deal with transvestite prostitutes plaguing certain areas.
  • 6/11/2012: Sgt Cooper met with a 790 Piedmont Board Member regarding a parking issue.
  • 6/25/2012: Suspicious person begging door-to-door in 800 block of Myrtle Street. He was found to be a transient who recently released from prison in another state.
  • 6/29/2012: Officer Gruen responded to a pedestrian robbery just outside of patrol area, and a connected stabbing at Bulldogs.

Court Watch update

Andrew Arnett – On 6/29/2012 two MPSA Board members attended a court hearing for Andrew Arnett. He still has the burglary case in Gwinnett County but was turned over to Fulton County so authorities here could process charges related to a Sandy Springs Burglary. We were on hand to deliver another community impact statement, which we drafted because we strongly feel that the proceeds of his burglary activity stand a good chance of coming to our neighborhood in the form of drug activity and peddling stolen goods as he has done in the past. We expected that he would take a plea that day, but ended up fighting the charges. He therefore remains in the Fulton County jail ineligible for bond due to a detainer from Gwinnett County. He will not likely re-appear on our streets anytime soon, as the Fulton County case could drag on for several more months.

Andrew Samples – As we reported previously, Andrew Samples failed to appear for a 6/25 court date, and a bench warrant for failure to appear was immediately put into the works. As we understand it, his defense attorney brought him to the courthouse on 7/02, and somehow got him squeezed onto the docket for that day. This happened in a way where the community prosecutor was not able to mobilize our court watch volunteers, and before a warrant for Failure to Appear could be put into effect. We feel very strongly about the drug activity at Ponce & Boulevard, and we would have therefore brought along a community impact statement in hopes of ensuring that Judge Lovett takes into consideration the ongoing issues we experience with the drug activity in the Ponce & Boulevard area. On his charge for selling cocaine, he was given probation to run concurrently with existing probation. This resulted in no net increase in criminal sanctions for Mr. Samples. Afterwards, Mr. Samples continues to hang around the place where all of this started…

Candice Hughes – Candice Hughes was convicted in 2009 for an attempted robbery and ensuing brutal assault on another female behind the Ponce de Leon Hotel. She has plagued the Ponce area for many years, including street prostitution, drug activity, and violent conduct toward members of the community. Her full sentence runs until December of this year, with a tentative parole date of August (next month). Because of her highly problematic background in our area, we sent a parole opposition letter to the State Parole Board. As we became aware of it very late, we do not know if our letter will have any impact.

Tracy Dean Foster, who was the subject of a recent police appeal, finally landed into the Atlanta Police. that he was arrested as he attempted to burglarize a business on Ponce, and that the Fulton County Jail shows a booking for 20 criminal charges, including 9 counts of commercial burglary for businesses in Buckhead. His booking record also shows a detainer for the state Department of Corrections, meaning that a parole revocation is in the works.

Antonio Martinez Hunt – On 7/03/2012 an APD officer was conducting a routine patrol on Myrtle Street when he spotted a known criminal on someone’s porch in the 4th & Myrtle area. This transvestite male was making himself at home on a stranger’s porch to charge his phone. The officer found Antonio Martinez Hunt to have a warrant from Douglas County, and discovered a firearm in this individual’s possession upon arrest. Hunt was booked on charges of possession of firearm by convicted felon, and remains in the Fulton County jail with a hold from Douglas County. Our research shows Hunt to be a seasoned criminal, with numerous jail bookings and prison stints. This makes one less transvestite criminal for a while…

Street scammers around

1. Roberto Aguilar – On 6/24 APD arrested Roberto Aguilar as he was working his fix-your-car scam at the Varsity. According to official police sources, he was targeting people with out-of-state charges and fought officers during the arrest. He used the name Orlando Hernandez until his fingerprints came back with his correct name in the system. He was apparently arrested on city charges, as this booking does not show up in the Fulton County jail logs. He reported his address as 420 Courtland, which is an address service operated by Crossroads Ministries next door to the Peachtree Pine “shelter.” After studying mugshots and field photos, and following up with people previously approached by the fix-your-car scammer we previously reported, we have concluded that this is NOT the same scammer – there are multiple fix-your-car scammers running around town!

2. We have received a report from Kit Sutherland, President of the Fourth Ward Alliance Neighborhood Association, that residents in the Old Fourth Ward area have reported a street scammer hitting on people at multiple locations. According to numerous accounts of numerous people approached, he claims that his car is broken down somewhere in the area (usually at the gas station at Boulevard & North Avenue, and that he needs money for repairs or gas. He has play this story at numerous locations, including the Ponce Kroger, various gas stations, and in driveways to condo buildings. Apparently some folks are falling for the story. Witnesses say that he usually wears the clothes seen in the field photo: an oversized white T-shirt with black lettering and green cargo pants (with zip-off legs). He is a tall, slender African-American male with thinning, close-cropped hair and a close-trimmed beard.

Mid-Year Financial Report

The first six months of the year have been a challenge. Street crime, burglaries and prostitution spiked last year, and we increased your patrol accordingly. Patrol expenditures are up over 60% over last year for the same period on an increase of almost 10 % in membership dues, and we appreciate all of our members who continue to support safety in Midtown. Our overall expenses are up only about 50% due to cost saving measures we’ve been able to achieve in areas other than your patrol investments in the safety of our neighborhood.

Thanks to your increased investments, as well as the tremendous support we have received from Major Whitmire in Zone 5 of the APD, the crime has been reduced.

Our latest findings among the crime stats show a significant drop in burglaries – 4 counts during the first half of this year versus 20 counts during the same period last year, and 16 counts during the second half of 2011. Street robberies in the MPSA service area are also down. Transvestite prostitution remains a problem in the usual areas, but we are working to step up pressure.

However, we need your support in getting your neighbors who are not members to step up and join. Please help us by getting just one neighbor to join the MPSA – that would make an amazing difference!

THANK YOU FOR YOUR ONGOING SUPPORT!

Mac July 24, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Dear Mr. Gower, Thank you for the work you guys do in the neighborhood. Perhaps since "Shivtim" seems very familiar with transvestites, their time might be better used on the streets directly interfacing with them to deter criminal activity.
donald July 24, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Shivtim - because the context he used is that it is a group or gang of transvestite criminals and with one of them being in jail it is one less of that gang or group that 'transvestite' is the best descriptor.
Andrew McKinnon July 24, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Steve, I agree with Shivtim and clancy. As a paying member of MPSA, I also request the word transvestite. It is offensive to many in our community and there is really no excuse to continue its utilization. Simply substitute the word "transgender" or add no adjective at all when describing these criminal. A prostitute is a prostitute, period...regardless of what equipment is underneath that dress. MPSA asks its members to recruit other residents to financially support the organization, and you are only making it more difficult to do so when you continue to use this word which turns off many would-be subscribers. Stop it please. Andy
Clicker July 24, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Seems that some people are more interested in protecting the fragile psyches of transvestite prostitutes than condemning the crimes they commit. Why don't you just describe the fabulousness (or non-fabulousness) of their outfits instead Steve? Will that make everyone happy?
fredrodriguez January 31, 2013 at 03:38 AM
In our area, there has been a recent increase of crimes and thefts in warehouses. I am thinking of what are the possible solutions or barriers that we could install to reduce this threat. Does anyone have any suggestions on this? If we are going to have some barriers, do these come together with mobile apps that could send some signal once these systems are dislodged? I would appreciate if there are any portable barriers that could be easily installed. Leads would be very much appreciated.

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