Atlanta Police Zone 5 Commander Major Wayne Whitmire introduced himself to Neighborhood Planning Unit-E at this month’s meeting by saying the zone was “having a fairly good year.”
“Crime is down for us,” Whitmire said. “We’re still having an issue with vehicle break-ins, but altogether, they’re a lot better than they’ve been in the last 20 years.”
For Zone 5, which includes Midtown, Downtown, and West Midtown, auto thefts are down 3.42 percent from Jan. 1 through March 21, while vehicle larcenies are up slightly at 4.31percent over the same stretch of time.
In Zone 6, which includes among others East Atlanta, Candler Park, Ormewood Park, Kirkwood, and the Old Fourth Ward, auto thefts are up 16.85 percent; vehicle larcenies are up 13.76 percent.
In Zone 2, which includes Buckhead, vehicle larcenies are up 20.25 percent during the same time period.
Whitmire replaced Major Chistopher Leighty, who served as the Zone 5 commander for less than a year before leaving the APD in late March to become chief of police for the City of Morrow.
Whitmire began his career with the APD in 1990. In 2006 he was assigned to field operation in Zone 5 after being promoted to the rank of lieutenant. He was later appointed assistant zone commander for Zone 5, until being reassigned to Zone 1 as the assistant commander in 2008.
According the APD’s website, he helped Zone 1 in working toward the “largest reduction in crime percentage of any zone for 2008, and 2009.” In 2010, Whitmire was reinstated the rank of captain and in November of that year was appointed to the rank of major and assigned to the airport.
“This is my second time through Zone 5 and I’m glad to be here,’’ Whitmire said. He also asked residents to be “nosey neighbors’’ in helping the APD’s mission to protect and serve. “If you see something that doesn’t look right, call 911. Look after your neighbor,” he told the NPU-E.
Whitmire said that criminal activity is a job for many of the people routinely arrested, explaining that a partnership between police and the community could help make criminals’ lives “uncomfortable and not profitable.”
While you can’t prevent all auto thefts or break-ins, Whitmire said you can minimize the risk of making your vehicle an attractive target.
The department has been pushing its “Clean Car Campaign” for several months now and advises that you sweep your vehicles of anything that might make it tempting to break into it:
- Remove GPS and mounts
- Remove mobile phones
- Remove laptops and tablets
- Remove all power cords and power sources for your electronics
- Remove all shopping bags, briefcases, duffel bags and purses
- Don’t leave wallets, loose change or currency out in open view
- If you have a gun in your vehicle, don’t leave it there
- And while there’s been some philosophical debate from some vehicle owners who leave their vehicles unlocked, APD says you should always lock your doors.
- It’s best to sweep your vehicle before you get to your destination, not after.