You can prevent holiday-season crime

We are in the holiday season. This means another year of trying to dodge the dreaded fruitcake encounter, putting a few pounds on just when you were starting to make progress, your weird uncle showing up and leaving you wondering how the heck you came from the same gene pool, credit card woes, traffic, crowds, and again, back to the overriding fear that if you do eat from a fruitcake, it truly never really digests — and what the heck are those green things in it anyway?

We are looking at an upswing in crime stats, and not happy about it. Two areas of concern:

  • Burglary, primarily residential, especially apartments.
  • Thefts from cars.

There are people out there, dressed like you and me, who spend the day trying to figure out who the victim will be. Their criteria: Path of least resistance.

  • Example of good criteria: Car, unlocked, bags and GPS there to be taken.
  • Example of bad criteria: Car locked, no bags or GPS in sight and a large Rottweiler sitting in the passenger seat staring at you.

Which car do you choose?

Okay, a bit exaggerated but not by much. In the old days, before Al Gore invented the Internet, burglars had a simple criteria of choosing homes without deadbolts on the front door as potential A-list targets. Most homes come with installed dead bolts now, but one thing still remains: Burglars use the risk-vs.-opportunity formula. They want in, grab the goods, get out and get gone, without the following happening to them:

  • Getting caught
  • Getting shot
  • Getting bit by the dog
  • Getting identified

Crime prevention is key

Sandy Springs P.D. has four community coordinators and two sergeants who are there to help with any crime-prevention issues or concerns. They are:

South District: Sgt. Scott Levy, Officer Elizardo Rodriguez and Officer Tim Burell.  (The South District is defined as south of Johnson Ferry Road, coming east from the Cobb County (river) line and then connecting up with Hammond Drive and east to the city limits of Dunwoody.)

North District: Sgt.  Mike Lindstrom, Officer Amanda Martin and Officer David Johns.

Crime Prevention Support and Business Watch projects will be coordinated by Officer Larry Jacobs.

These people are here to support you. They are versed in several areas of crime prevention, including environmental design options (lighting and landscaping) that deter criminals from selecting you.

We are moving more and more toward partnerships in 2010, so we’re really interested in bumping up our Neighborhood Watch programs, Business Watch and a number of target-related efforts to reduce thefts and thefts from vehicles.

Among the reports filed with Sandy Springs Police over the past week:

People with issues

700 block of Hammond Drive: SSPD officers received a call of a dispute and argument at one of the apartments. They arrived and spoke with the man and woman. They found broken Christmas ornaments on the floor. Long story short, the man got mad because the newly installed Christmas tree blocked the view of the television. Ornaments were broken. While the officers were there, the woman grabbed something and ran to another room. Officer thought it might be a weapon but it turned out to be a bag of pot. Both were cited on copies for disorderly conduct and possession of marijuana.

6000 block of Roswell Road: Here’s a good example of how tempers can get you in big trouble. An officer, sitting at the intersection of Hammond and Roswell, sees what appears to be an accident. A car hit another. The car then pulled into an adjacent parking lot, and then continues back to the other car and drives into the car. The driver gets out and runs to the other car and then starts hitting the other driver through the driver’s door. The officer runs up to the man and orders him to stop. Commands are ignored. The Taser was not! Arrested. This was around 8:30 in the morning. Road rage. Relax out there.

On Nov. 25, a patrol officer stopped a motorist on Hammond Drive after observing he was not wearing a seat belt. The man’s driver’s license was also suspended for failing to appear in court on another matter. The man said he had just left his daughter’s home on Mt. Vernon Highway. When the officer told the man why he stopped him (seat belt) and that he could not drive because of the suspended driver’s license, the man became agitated and told the officer that looking in his car was an invasion of privacy and as a citizen of Sandy Springs, he didn’t want the city to become a police state like Marietta. He said he paid a lot of taxes and he paid our (police) salaries. (Thank you by the way. I always wanted to meet that guy.) He said he knew the mayor and he said he was very unhappy with the Sandy Springs Police because we had a lot of useless laws (I assume that included seat-belt laws) that took away too much time from patrol. The officer said the man was cursing and yelling. The officer called the man’s daughter, who came and picked him up. He was charged with a seat-belt violation and he was served with the suspension notice. Fortunately for him, there is no law for overusing tired old clichés.

Thefts (and how you can prevent them)

4968 Roswell Road: The manager of the Kwik Mart said two juveniles came into the store and took two 30-pack cases of beer and then ran out and then south on Roswell Road.

1155 Mt. Vernon Hwy.: A man reported that while he was at the LA Fitness Gym, someone cut the lock to his locker and stole several items from his gym bag. They include an i-Pod and a digital camera. A second theft was reported at the same location on the same day.

300 block of Mt. Vernon Hwy.: A woman reported she briefly left her table at the Sandy Springs Library and upon her return her $1,800 laptop had been stolen.

Another woman filed a theft report from the library. She previously left artwork for display and viewing at the library. Someone stole a $500 piece of artwork sometime between the 23rd and 30th of November.

A woman reported she was at a Starbucks Coffee Shop located in the Target Store at 5610 Roswell Road. She placed her purse over her chair and accidently left it when she departed the store. When she returned, the purse was gone. Video showed a woman with two small children and a baby in a stroller came in to the Starbucks just before the victim. After the victim left, the woman took the purse and headed out the door and then placed the purse in the stroller as she exited to the outside.

5400 block of Glenridge Road: A man reported he returned from a trip and unloaded his suitcase, but left it outside. He went back to his car an hour later and found the suitcase was gone.

1100 block Hightower Trail: A woman reported she was at the Community Action Center, filling out paperwork. She left the room for a moment, leaving her purse behind. When she returned, it was gone.

TIP: This scenario repeats itself over and over doesn’t it? You can’t leave anything out of your eyesight.

Behind in bills? Don’t get pinched by a fake cop

A man called and said he filled out an Internet loan application with a company. He filled out the info and listed his sister and cousin as references. He submitted the loan but was rejected because the company was not allowed to do business in Georgia.

The victim said he later got a call from a man who identified himself as Detective Green. Detective Green told the man: “Do you want to go to jail or resolve this?” in reference to the $300 loan the victim applied for but never received. According to the victim, Detective Green also called his sister (one of the victim’s references) and said basically the same thing.

Bill collectors often use the color of law to intimidate past-due clients. When they represent themselves as police, they’re lying and breaking the law. Police departments DO NOT get involved with past-due accounts because it is not against criminal law. It’s a civil matter. If you’re contacted by a person who represents himself as a police officer, he’is legit if he’ll give you his department name, phone, e-mail and any other information to confirm who he is. If a person calls you on a past-due account and tells you he is officer so and so or detective so and so, start asking the following:

  1. Name?
  2. What police agency?
  3. Phone?
  4. Address?
  5. Badge number?
  6. Supervisor’s name and phone number?

If they’re not legit, you won’t get past question No. 2.

17 comments Add your comment


December 4th, 2009
7:26 am

The green things in a fruitcake are as follows: Dyed cherries and/or candied citron (the peels of a semitropical fruit somewhat like a cross between a lemon and a lime, a by product of 7-up or Sprite, perhaps?), and maybe a waxed roach or two that fell into the coating vat.


December 4th, 2009
8:57 am

The only time fruitcake is even remotely edible is if it’s marinated for at least 24 hours in one of the following: Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, or Crown Royal. Also helps to make holiday visits from the family, especially that weird uncle who seems to have been released from Windwood or St. Vincent’s just for the occasion.

I once used a slice of fruitcake in high school for a science class report on the parts of a cell. I got the only 100 in the whole class.


December 4th, 2009
2:30 pm

Why? Why? Why? Would you ever do that to Crown Royal? That’s just mean man.


December 4th, 2009
3:41 pm

“Commands are ignored. The Taser was not!” Sweet!


December 4th, 2009
8:44 pm

I’ve been leaving a fruitcake on the front seat of my car with the windows rolled down. No one has stolen it yet.

Better plan, marinate yourself with the Crown Royal and mail the fruitcake to Lt. Steve Rose, Sandy Springs PD. He won’t mind. Reeeaaallllyyy.

Chris Broe

December 5th, 2009
10:07 am

“There’s no law against using tired old cliches”.

Great stuff! Timely info about bill collectors! This piece really worked well. The easy interlace between fun personal references and crime prevention tips made this a fun read. That weird uncle at Xmas story hit home. I’m that uncle. I have precocious pre-school aged nieces who taunt me all during the holidays. “You’re stupid” or “You’re crazy”, is delivered 24/7 at point blank range after long, focused and repeated observations. One little niece has perfected the Five Finger Exploding Heart technique so I find myself staying less than five steps from the fridge at all times.

Anyway, love the way this piece is organized. The staccato delivery in contrast to the more ordinary passages worked amazingly well.


December 7th, 2009
11:33 am

My “at the church everytime the doors were open” family from a very small southern town thought people who “drank” would go to hell immediately upon death, but the ladies of the family sure used a lot of booze to soak those fruit cakes from Thanksgiving until Christmas. They were heavily wrapped and stored in a dark pantry and every few days, brought out, unwrapped and soaked again. My daddy loved fruit cake.

James T. Kirk

December 7th, 2009
12:33 pm

I have an AWESOME fruitcake sitting next to my keyboard as I type. God bless, Whole Foods Market!


December 8th, 2009
8:32 pm

Looks like people on the north side of Atlanta are arse-holes!

Chief Wiggum

December 9th, 2009
10:41 am

“Commands are ignored. The Taser was not!”

I’ve got an issue with the Taser thing. I’m not REALLY a chief, I just play one on TV. But…I always thought the idea behind the Taser was a slightly less lethal defensive weapon, slightly better than a gun. Shouldn’t it only be used when the officer feels that he has to defend himself? It’s not something that ought to be used to “gain compliance”. So many local departments have had problems with the Taser, people have heart attacks from them, honestly…they should really be used to defend, not to make a subject become obedient to the officer.

I’m all about respect for officers, but respect is generally earned, not coerced due to a threat of sending voltage through the subject’s body.

ron is an idiot

December 9th, 2009
11:58 am

ron is still an idiot


December 9th, 2009
3:21 pm

Chief Wiggum….the taser was used to prevent the suspect from further harming the occupant of the vehicle….definitely called for if he is ignoring officer commands to stop beating the living daylights out of someone.


December 10th, 2009
3:42 pm

I agree about that tasers seem to be over used lately. But in this case, clearly needed, since the guy seems determined to harm the other guy. But what ever happened to cops just grabbing and cuffing folks? Too good to get your hands dirty?


December 10th, 2009
4:27 pm

Lori, not everyone that’s ever been arrested is always compliant. There are some people out there that actually do resist being arrested. I have no problem getting physical with anyone. The taser does keep that from happening in most cases. I have only had to use my taser once in the two years that my department has had them so I feel pretty fortunate in that regard.


December 13th, 2009
10:59 pm

I think tasers are WONDERFUL. The only improvement would be if they had a range about like a 30-06 rifle, to stop drivers who choose to flee rather than pull over when they get lit up.


December 17th, 2009
8:22 am

Lynn’s comment made me think of something that should be available, if not already. Police should have the ability to remotely stop a vehicle involved in a high speed pursuit by means of aiming an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) gun at the target, and with the press of a button, it would kill the electrical components of the target vehicle, primarily the battery and alternator, thus rendering the vehicle inoperable.

What would also be good is in relation to an On-Star commercial on the airwaves. The commercial shows dashcam video of a high-speed chase, with an On-Star operator talking with the police department, telling them she’s flashing the lights and cutting the power. Anyways, what would be good is if police were to be in touch with On-Star, and ask if the vehicle they’re in pursuit of is equipped. All they’d have to give would be a license plate number, if it was registered with them.


December 20th, 2009
4:06 pm

Why is it that good Southern Baptists think you can soak the fruitcake or cookies in rum and that the rum “evaporates” and cannot have any of its alcoholic effect? On the other hand, it’s fun to be at a celebration with them and watch the “evaporation” take effect!