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Car Break-Ins Force Zone 6 Patrol Changes

BeltLine Trail is an escape route for crooks, a problem that needs to be addressed.

Following an uptick in vehicle break-ins, particularly in Southeast Atlanta, police officials have made some shifts in patrols — moves they say have already yielded positive results.

Maj. Keith Meadows, the Atlanta Police Department's Zone 6 commander, said he's shifted some patrol assignments in response to a string of vehicle larcenies that have hit a number of neighborhoods, including .

In response, Meadows said he moved eight officers to patrol the most affected areas during the times when most of the vehicle break-ins occur the most — in the middle of the night.

He also changed days off so that those officers are no longer off on weekends, when many of the crimes take place.

It appears to be working. In the week of March 22 alone, there were a reported 50 auto break-ins, throughout APD's Zone 6, which includes most of East Atlanta Patch as well as the Virginia-Highland and Poncey-Highland neighborhoods.

The following week that was cut in half, Meadows said.

One area of concern is the BeltLine Trail, he said last week at a meeting of the South Atlantans for Neighborhood Development.

That's because crooks continually use it as a getaway route after committing crimes in Old Fourth Ward, Inman Park and other areas that touch the BeltLine.

The stretch of trail that's particularly problematic is the portion of the BeltLine that spans from Studioplex to Freedom Parkway.

The BeltLine, which when complete will create a necklace of greenspace around the city, doesn't have cameras.

APD and BeltLine officials are discussing ways to make it safer, Meadows said.

In the meantime, "we're asking our officers to be mindful that the BeltLine is being used as an escape route, right now," he said.

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