According to Jones, Zone 2, which includes all of Buckhead, won the Crime Reduction Award last year, which Police Chief George Turner gives out to zone commanders whose zones have the lowest crime rate in the city.
“I’m sure you’d like to see that trend continue,” he said. “Major Van Hobbs and his officers work diligently each day to create environmental safety for you.”
According to Jones, there have been no reported homicides in Buckhead this year, rape is down 28 percent, auto burglary is down 6 percent and there is a 17 percent reduction in overall crime since Turner was appointed as the department’s chief in December 2009.
However, the main crime-related issue in Buckhead recently has been larcenies from automobiles, said Jones, and Turner has mandated to use a portion of a federal grant for officers to work overtime for a 60-day period in Buckhead.
“What we hope to do is really saturate the area with police officers to lower these particular numbers, in terms of trying to fight these larcenies,” Jones said.
The department promotes a Clean Car Campaign, he said, to encourage “men and women to avoid leaving valuable in cars when they park.”
“A lot of the times, people are in a hurry and leave things in the car that are stolen,” Jones said. “We believe if you work with us and we continue to work with you, we will be able to reduce larcenies.”
Association member John McDonald asked Jones what the “three key problems facing the department are in priority order.”
In response, Jones said fighting crime is number one and using technology to do so.
“We must integrate as much technology into the police department as possible,” he said. “Back in 2002, we really got into technology and understanding how it supports us.”
Additionally, he said the department is trying to get more analysts into the department, which will help them to better predict where crime is occurring before perpetrators strike.
Jones said partnerships are the second priority and go hand-in-hand with fighting crime as well. The department partners with Georgia State University, Georgia Tech, the Midtown Alliance and the Atlanta Police Foundation, to name a few.
“Those partnerships enable us to turn the corner a lot faster,” he said.
Lastly, Jones said making sure the Atlanta police force is well educated is up there on the list, enabling officers to be “confident in everything that we do from the standpoint of decision making.”
“The community’s perception of crime is equally important as how often the crime occurs,” he said. “If you don’t feel safe, the reductions really don’t mean a lot. … We have a lot of work to do.”