Update 7/16/14: This criminal has been CAPTURED. Atlanta Police arrested him on 7/15/14.
WANTED FOR ARMED ROBBERY.
- Warrant #EW-0119273
- Pedro Soto, also known as Orlando Hernandez and Roberto Aguilar, and known on the street as “The Cuban.”
- Atlanta Police report number # 141762905
According to the Atlanta Police, the most notorious fix-your-car scammer has escalated into the disable-your-car robber. For a long time this guy would disable people’s cars and then charge them to fix the car. Atlanta Police have now reported that he disabled someone’s car in the 400 block of Ponce, and then robbed the victim at gunpoint of cash and credit cards. He is known to have been accomodated at Peachtree-Pine, and frequents the Ponce area (both sides of the Beltline).
If you see him around or know his whereabouts:
- presume him to be armed & dangerous,
- report him to 911 with above warrant info.
Below are some mugshots:
Update: Robbery Report Narratives from latest incident
From time to time we like to tell the story of the MPSA logo. It was was designed by a resident on Charles Allen Drive in the very early days of MPSA. He presented it to Steve Gower and Reid Taylor (1st MPSA President) in March 2003. When he explained the meaning we both said, stop right there – we’re running with that one! It hit the bulls eye because it emphasized that Ponce needs to redevelop in a way so as to integrate into the Midtown experience. Just like the Peachtree Mile, we need a Ponce mile, and sweeping out all the criminal elements and criminogenic factors was the first step toward implementing that vision. More importantly, it reminded us to look beyond what we set out to accomplish – to protect and secure Midtown’s future.
Here is the official meaning:
The green blocks stand for the Midtown area with its magnificent trees, beautiful homes, its walkability, and a true neighborhood lifestyle – the things we cherish most about living here. Midtown’s color is green.
The white grid stands for the safe pedestrian-oriented streets of Midtown (i.e. the sidewalks, not black asphalt), and the thicker white part at the bottom represents a Ponce de Leon Avenue transformed from an isolated boundary street fraught with seediness, criminal elements, and suburban & vehicle-oriented land-use patterns – to a urban, pedestrian-oriented gateway street well-integrated into the Midtown experience and way of life.
The surrounding blue circle reminds us that law-abiding citizens in their diversity are entitled to a safe haven in which to live, work, play, shop, dine, and pursue entertainment and recreation.
In short, the MPSA focuses on public safety & security issues with vision of a much greater Midtown experience in mind…
June marked the start of our 12th year of patrol operations, and with that we continue our tradition of tackling the neighborhood’s public safety and security issues in a proactive and vigorous fashion. Your neighbors at the MPSA pursue a vision of the safest environment possible in which the Midtown community can thrive. We work to bring about effective solutions for the various criminal & nuisance issues affecting the neighborhood. We place particular emphasis on funding our neighborhood patrol through membership and sponsorship, and for that the task of maintaining and enhancing membership support remains our top priority. The more patrol hours we can fund, the more effectively we can address the threats facing the neighborhood.
Here are the larger issues we are facing:
1. Burglary prevention remains our number one issue. Every community, whether urban Midtown Atlanta or rural Midway, Georgia – has some issues with burglaries. Glancing over the stats, we are seeing about 1 burglary per month in and around the MPSA service area. Many of those took place in secured buildings, where the patrol would have little influence. This trend reflects much better patterns than the ones we were seeing ten years ago – with 3 to 6 (and surges up to a dozen) burglaries per month. While this shows significant improvement, burglary prevention is a permanant need for any neighborhood – we cannot get around this.
2. Peachtree-Pine could close at any time. With very cautious optimism, we would certainly welcome this long-overdue event, but seriously doubt this would ever take place smoothly. Before things improve, there will likely be quite a bit of fallout, and we need to be prepared for increased vagrant activity. We have to prevent a situation where street people settle in certain parts of the neighborhood and thereby synthesize into much bigger, long-term problems.
- The latest information we have on the status of Peachtree-Pine: http://atlantaprogressivenews.com/interspire/news/2014/06/23/hearing-on-dispossessory-scheduled-in-homeless-task-force-lawsuit.html
3. The trans prostitutes and especially the growing drug activity among them remain a serious threat to the Midtown community. We estimate this pool of criminals to be around 100 specific individuals, of which about 20-25 are currently active in this pattern of street crime at any given time. A task force report with recommendations for the Mayor has not yet been released. Until city officials address the issue of street prostitution afflicting many of Atlanta’s neighborhoods, the blatant criminal activity inflicted by this group continues on a nightly basis to create a dangerous and frightening situation for the residents in a certain part of the neighborhood. We have already written extensively about this group of street criminals, and are working on a new action plan to deal with them. For now we would like to leave you with a video showing conditions in those parts of the neighborhood – not only street prostitution but also drug activity.
4. Prowlers roam the neighborhood day and night looking for cars to break into, case homes and properties for burglaries, and engage in other criminal activity.
5. The Ponce & Boulevard drug culture remains a threat to the Midtown experience. The Ponce Hotel will reopen at some point. We had heard that the building would become housing for college students, but that arrangement has fallen through from what we understand. The former Stratford Inn is also under renovation and will reopen as “Parkway Suites Midtown” – based on past experience, this could easily create another source of drugs, prostitution, and other criminal activity in the community. Budget motels present a well-known law enforcement issue, and we will continue to monitor the situation with both of these places. Much of the street criminal presence in the Ponce & Boulevard area revolves around these two motels along with pockets of drug activity scattered around the Bedford-Pine Apartments (and these are disappearing gradually thanks to Councilman Kwanza Hall’s Year of Boulevard initiative). With these two places out of commission, we have seen nearly nothing of the Ponce & Boulevard group of street criminals lately other than a smattering of vagrants. And those vagrants are largely drawn to one particular property that we are working to deal with. We estimate the pool of criminals revolving around Ponce & Boulevard at over 300 specific individuals, and we need to work on keeping them from coming back…
In addition to these larger patterns (explained in more detail in the report about our criminal groupings), the patrol also deals with random issues cropping up from time to time. Every once in a while a criminal perpetrates a robbery or random assault against a Midtowner. The more the patrol we have on hand, the more likely that such events can be prevented and the more likely the assailants can be captured quickly.
Some of the reasons why we need the MPSA…
Timothy Kozak, who burglarized several places in Midtown and Virginia Highland, was paroled from prison at the end of April. In August 2008 he was caught in action by MPSA’s Sgt. Cooper and was later linked to the other burglaries. He originally had a parole date of November 2013, for which we sent a parole opposition letter and delayed his release. Upon being paroled Kozak relocated to Pennsylvania under the Interstate Compact Agreement, an arrangement whereby offenders can move to another state while on probation or parole. His full sentence runs until 2018, and we will monitor his status regularly.
Nyquarious Edwards – (We previously wrote some of this on Facebook) Nyquarious Edwards was convicted in April for several offenses perpetrated in a home invasion back in October. He pled guilty to five felony charges, including hijacking automobile, use of firearm during the commission of a felony, and possession of firearm by convicted felon.
Mr. Edwards pled guilty to five felony counts including armed robbery, use of a firearm in the commission of a crime, and possession of a firearm by a felon. He was sentenced to a total of 28 years. He will serve 18 years, and will be on probation for 10 years following that. His sentence also includes banishment from the City of Atlanta and an order of no contact with the victim. Nyquarious Edwards has since then been picked up by the Department of Corrections. His rapsheet shows a maximum release date of 10/21/2031, and parole board records marked him as ineligible for parole.
The victim, MPSA Board member Brad Edmonds, delivered the following victim impact statement at the sentencing hearing:
Your Honor, I would like to state for the record that the amount of damages totaled approximately $71,000 not $7,100 that was stated earlier by the Assistant District Attorney, George Jenkins. I am aware that if restitution is granted that the longer time that Mr. Edwards serves will delay the beginning of any repayment.
In my opinion, time is much more valuable than money. I ask of you to not be lenient with the sentence given Mr. Edwards. My reason for this is that when Mr. Edwards has served his sentence, he is done with this whole ordeal and it is no longer a part of his life. Whereas I, your Honor, have this with me the rest of my life until the day I die. The anxiety every Monday evening retrieving the trash cans from the street. The questions running through my mind, such as did I lock the door? Is it too
late for a walk? Who is that over there? What was that noise? My life is forever changed and so are the lives of my neighbors knowing that this happened so close to home, their home.
Home is not a place… it’s a feeling. One’s home is their place of comfort, their protection from the outside world and elements and to some their castle. When that zone is invaded it destroys the feeling of home. I hope over time my feeling of security and protection will return. Trust, faith, will and of course time are all needed. Those are the things that bring about change. I ask of you, your Honor to give Mr. Edwards ample time to reflect upon his actions and in turn this will provide me peace of mind and the time in which to heal.
This case reiterates the message we seek to make about Midtown: Commit crime – serve time.
Kenneth Lamb – is back in jail for failure to comply with sex offender registry requirements. He previously served 20 years for rape, only to go on to a life of street drugs. He was later sentenced to more prison time for a terroristic threats charge, and maxed out in December 2013. Three days later he was booked into the Fulton County jail for a probation violation, and has been in and out of jail since. He came under our radar after a pattern of menacing conduct in and around the neighborhood. We are closely monitoring the status of this dangerous individual. Kenneth Lamb continues to be one of our most successful and proactively pursued court watch cases.
Hosea Smith – As one of the more recalcitrant street criminals among the trans prostitute group, he has been in and out of jail ever since being released from a Florida prison last year. His latest jail stay lasted a little over a month, and then he was turned over to another unspecified jurisdiction in pursuit of warrants. In 2011 he attacked a resident at 3rd
& Piedmont. Hosea serves as a prime example of why we need enhanced legislation to address street prostitution and its incumbent criminal activity in residential areas.
Jimmy Lockett – a chronic vagrant who has been a nuisance in the area since being released from prison last year on a number of serious convictions. He typically prowls around on a bicycle day and night, and has been seen in a wide area including Midtown, Virginia Highland, Ansley Park, and Piedmont Heights.
- UPDATE: the suspect has bonded out of jail and is out there somewhere. According to media reports, APD is investigating this as a possible hate crime given that he was accused of using homophobic slurs during the attack.
Less than a day after police released pictures of someone accused of assaulting someone on the Beltline, a suspect is now in custody. According to Fulton County jail records, a Michael D. Sanders faces a misdemeanor charge of Battery with Substantial Physical Harm, and public records show his bond set at $5,000. A conviction under Georgia Code §16-5-23.1 will render him criminally liable to 12 months incarceration and a fine of $1,000.
On May 23rd, a victim advised police that Sanders slammed him against a fence and inflicted the need for several stitches. An APD surveillance video shows the suspect pummeling him for several seconds before fleeing the scene. APD reports that numerous witnesses corroborated the story, and issued a public appeal for assistance in identifying the suspect on 6/03. Once Sanders saw that his picture was going viral, he turned himself in before police had to initiate a manhunt. According to his Facebook profile, Sanders is originally from Key West, attended University of Tennessee (Knoxville), and has previously worked at a camp for boys.
We have added him to our criminal watchlist and plan to follow the case because the Beltline is a major feature of the intown living experience. We therefore find it of utmost importance that it be safe for all of us, and wish to see those who endanger a major amenity in our community prosecuted fully. We are grateful for the proactive citizenship, social media, and public surveillance cameras not only contributing to the public safety along the Beltline but assuring us that a dangerous individual is not out there at least for the time being.
Below is a video of the assault taking place, via Atlanta Police Department:
Two key board members have recently retired from the MPSA board. Peggy Denby and Don Jones, who were members of the founding board of MPSA, recently retired from MPSA after 12 years of service to the Midtown community. Both Peggy and Don were instrumental in the development of the MPSA in 2003 and with it, the improved public safety conditions we continue to enjoy in Midtown. Peggy served as President from 2003 until her retirement this year, and Don served as treasurer since 2003. We will forever be grateful for their role in a safer Midtown for all of us.
Don and Peggy have been planning their retirement for quite some time. They will now spend their time traveling the world in their RV. They are about to embark on a trip lasting several months to the New England states, the Maritime provinces, and other places in the US and Canada. We will sorely miss them, but will forever be grateful for their service to the Midtown community, as well as for the ample time they provided the board for transition.
Last week we officially passed the torch to Bill Nickles, who is now the President of the MPSA. Steve Gower, the last remaining founding member of the MPSA board, will continue as Vice President and manage the website, research, and the watchlist. Ed Seemann has fully transitioned into the treasurer’s role over the last few months. Other of your neighbors serving on the MPSA board are Brad Edmonds, Chandra Stephens-Albright, Ted Ghiz, and Joe Vivona. They will focus primarily on membership development. Michael Floyd will continue his advisory role on the MPSA board.
In just a few days, on June 1st, we will launch our 12th year of Patrol operations (we launched the patrol on June 1st, 2003). We have come a very long way in all these years (thank you again Don & Peggy), but we still have a good bit of work to do in optimizing public safety in Midtown. As always, we appreciate your ongoing support and look forward to bringing our beautiful neighborhood to even greater heights because of it.
Mugshots and field photos of these offenders below.
1. TYWONG MCCOY ALERT – Psychopath Tywong McCoy, who served a prison sentence of several years after a pattern of stalking women in the neighborhood and exposing himself to them, has been prowling around the neighborhood lately. Police were notified of his presence twice in the last week, but unfortunately they had no cause to arrest him. We need to monitor this individual as we work to find some grounds to have him kept off the streets, and would like to know about sightings. We have posted mugshots below.
2. Kenneth Lamb – A psychopathic individual noted for menacing people in the community, previously served 20 years for rape, only to go on to a life of street drugs. He maxed out of prison on December 13, 2013 for a terroristic threats charge, and three days later he was booked into the Fulton County jail for a probation violation. He was released from jail and continued on probation in February. The sex offender registry shows him claiming a Sylvan Rd. address, but we still need to watch his case closely.
3. Will Gibson – Gibson was arrested in early February for possession of cocaine. Gibson has been living in the Ponce Hotel several years, and came to our attention when the patrol arrested him in 2010 for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute along with a known prostitute. He had previously served in prison for aggravated assault. He was released earlier this month on a pre-trial signature bond.
4. Christina Camarda – Another one from the Ponce Hotel was the subject of a drug arrest. Camarda has been in and out of the Ponce & Boulevard drug culture for several years, and has prior criminal history for drug offenses, prostitution, and theft. She has also served time in prison for use of stolen credit cards. She comes from a well-to-do family in Dunwoody, and her father was on the board of trustees for a Christian school in the Atlanta area.
5. Daniel Holt, who burglarized a house in 2011, maxed out of prison in early March. He has extensive criminal history, and we need to know about it if anyone sees him. Since his release from prison he has been arrested for criminal trespass, and looked very drugged out in his mugshot.
6. Antwan Manuel, among the trans prostitutes, was arrested on a probation violation. He has previous convictions for Theft by Receiving Stolen Property, and is currently charged with violating the terms of that sentence.
7. Tiffy – Tiffany Hendricks, known as Tiffy on the street, has reached his big 5-0 since we last reported him. He was booked into the Fulton County jail for the 51st time (this would be in addition to bookings in City jail!). He was picked up on March 8th for public indecency. Tiffy loiters obtrusively in the Piedmont & 3rd area when not in jail. His history consists mainly of petty offenses like Criminal Trespassing, though with all his priors for public indecency, he should be eligible for felony charges. He is also known to beg at the Publix and Walgreens at Piedmont & North.
8. Bobby James Perry – It has come to our attention that longtime street criminal Bobby James Perry has been aggressively hitting up on people for money at Ansley Mall. He has been on our watchlist since 2008 when he was aggressively panhandling and prowling around the neighborhood. When we finally identified him after a year, we found that he was a co-defendant with Timothy Kozak for a 2008 burglary in Virginia Highland. Kozak was one of the “Three Burglateers” arrested with the help of Sgt. Cooper, and was later tied to additional burglaries, including at least one with Perry. Perry has a long jail and prison history dating back to at least 1988.
Perry was released from prison last year, and immediately cropped up at Ponce & Boulevard. After someone reported him sleeping on the sidewalk in front of someone’s home, he was found to have a warrant from another county and stayed in jail there for a little while, but has since returned to the area. While his latest issues have been at Ansley Mall, he is known to prowl around all over the map. Many of us shop at Ansley, and should be aware of his presence there. If he hits up on you, report him to the manager or security officer of the store you are visiting. We urge people not to give to beggars, as this tends to perpetuate their presence. We have found a great many of these types to be lifelong criminals.
9. On a brighter note, one individual criminally active last year among the group of trans prostitutes is now working at an area business and has hopefully left life on the streets behind. We’d sure love to see more of this kind of progress.
Mugshots and field photos of these offenders below:
During the 3am hour of Monday March 24th, a male driving a truck cab came through the residential area of the neighborhood to pick up street prostitute Richard Kelly in front of someone’s home. He was followed to the Ansley Mall area until he realized he was being followed and dumped the prostitute at Piedmont & Westminster Drive (in Ansley Park) and drove on. The Midtown resident stayed in that area a few more minutes to make sure the john did not attempt to pick up the prostitute again, when the prostitute finally disappeared into Ansley Park. A few minutes later the same truck cab was back in Midtown and picked up another prostitute on Ponce – Hosea Williams. Based on the pictures taken at the time, the truck cab belongs to an All-Star Championship Fleet Services, which is apparently based in Illinois.
From time to time, we see a truck cab or someone else in a company vehicle cruising through to pick up a prostitute. When you see those, please report them to 911. Also, try to document information from a company vehicle cruising in the residential area so we can attempt to notify companies about their staff members picking up prostitutes in a residential area. We have posted pictures of this truck cab, and are working on contacting this company (they do not seem to have a website). We seek to make examples of johns like because they underscore the need for enhanced legislation in order to incarcerate individuals hurting neighborhoods like ours.
Richard Kelly, the first street street prostitute, served a ten-year prison sentence for aggravated child molestation. According to a Channel 46 story in 2011, Kelly molested two toddlers, and the victims told interviewers from Channel 46 that they continue to feel traumatized by the affair even all these years later. They described him as a “menace to society” and a “risk to everyone in sight.” It remains to be understood why Fulton County released him from the requirement to register as a sex offender. He has been on our watchlist for the last two years.
Hosea Smith aka “Peaches,” another obtrusive criminal among the trans street prostitutes, was released from prison in Florida on 6/30/13, and immediately returned to Atlanta to turn tricks on a nightly basis in our neighborhood. He has been in and out of jail for drug offenses along with warrants in other jurisdictions and probation violations. In 2011 he attacked a resident at 3rd & Piedmont. He remains a poster child for why we need enhanced legislation to incarcerate street prostitutes inflicting their criminal activity upon residential areas.
Pictures of the truck cab and these two street prostitutes below:
Last month we put out our prison & parole report showing the status of some our most serious offenders. Unfortunately, the majority of our street criminals remain active and unincarcerated. As we often say, the many reasons that we need a patrol have names, and over the years we have come to recognized distinct groupings for street criminals each with its own set of foundational characteristics. This guides us in our patrol and strategy planning in order to target and address distinct profile patterns bombarding us on multiple fronts.
We therefore keep a watchlist of problematic individuals that have come to our attention. In our years of operation the patrol has dealt with hundreds of individuals. Others have come to our attention either through direct observation, or from reports coming from residents and businesses in the neighborhood. Of these, we only catalog those who either maintain a chronic or recurring presence in the area, or have perpetrated very serious crimes in the neighborhood. In addition, there is a small handful of additional individuals whom we treat as “at-risk” rather than as criminals or worse. Currently, the watchlist has 375 individuals, and we have sorted them into several major groupings.
MOST CHRONIC GROUPINGS
- Groups I, II, and III comprise 83% of the watchlist. These are the ones creating the most problems for the neighborhood, and drive the need for a patrol.
Group I: Ponce & Boulevard drug culture - These appear chronically in the Ponce & Boulevard area primarily for drug-related purposes. The Ponce Hotel plays a heavy role in their chronic presence by either housing criminals in the area, allowing tenants to draw in others that loiter on that property, or allowing undesirables to loiter on the property. Street drugs form the foundational characteristic of this bunch – they live for one thing, and one thing only: their next hit of drugs. Because of this group, Ponce & Boulevard is where Crack (coming mostly from Bedford-Pine area) meets Meth (coming from the Cheshire Bridge area).
This street drug culture spawns a myriad of other detrimental issues. Historically, street prostitution was the most prominent and obtrusive feature of this group when we started the MPSA in 2003. Quite a few (mostly white) female street prostitutes and (mostly) white male meth-addicted street hustlers ping-ponging between P&B and the Cheshire Bridge area operated in this area. While street prostitutes are not nearly as visible as before, they are still around.
Drug-related street prostitution is only the beginning. This profile group engages in a lot of procurement crime, such as car break-ins and burglaries. They break into cars and homes, and peddle the stolen goods around Ponce & Boulevard to buy drugs, or trade them for drugs.
Over the years, we have seen a dramatic reduction in the presence of these criminals, but too many still linger. The final closing of the Ponce Hotel will be instrumental in achieving further reduction of street criminals revolving around Ponce & Boulevard. The closing of this anchor point, at least in its current incarnation, remains anxiously awaited. Redevelopment and the ensuing gentrification will ultimately finish the job for us at Ponce & Boulevard, and eliminate these criminals as a distinct profile group.
This is a complex group, and there is more to it than the Ponce Hotel. The drug trade revolving around the Bedford-Pine apartments also plays a major but gradually decreasing role in the problems (thanks to Councilman Kwanza Hall’s Year of Boulevard initiative). Still, Bedford-Pine remains a problem area as long as its management fails to prevent unauthorized tenants from setting up camp and dealing drugs. And then Bedford-Pine does not encompass all of the drug activity in the area immediately to the south of our patrol area.
There were also a couple individuals living in the service area and known to be trafficking drugs and stolen goods. We also had some problem tenants sprinkled around the neighborhood contributing to the Ponce & Boulevard phenomenon. We have managed to identify and get them pushed out of the neighborhood. Over the years we identified some vagrant encampments like Camp Burger King, had those cleaned out, and ended up routing out a number of undesirables from the area as a result. Several flophouses on North Avenue just east of Boulevard, known as Crackhouse Row, are now burned out and boarded up.
Nowadays the remaining druggies revolving around Ponce & Boulevard generally know not to come into the residential area, and to keep a low profile otherwise. We did this in part with “unwanted” posters placed in strategic places, and aggressively court-watched those not keeping a low profile (like Andrew Arnett and Jackie Sue Hunter). They know that they will stay in prison for their maximum prison sentence, and not make parole, if we find out about them getting arrested for something.
Group II: Trans Prostitute culture - These are the trans prostitutes appearing in the southwest portion of the MPSA service area on a nightly basis. We estimate this pool of criminals to be around 100, with about 20-25 specific individuals currently active in this pattern of street crime. Street prostitution is a foundational characteristic of this segment of the watchlist, but they engage in other criminal activity too. Of all the street criminals, their banding together for criminal purposes makes them most cohesive of our street criminal categories. By comparison, the individuals in the other groupings tend to be solitary offenders. Prostitution in a residential area, combined with their gang-like modus operandi, makes this group particularly problematic. Of all the criminal groupings, the trans prostitutes have budged the least and remain dead-set on maintaining the southwest portion of our service area as their territory. Their presence also compounds the problems inflicted by Group III (below). More about the trans prostitute gang in our latest prostitution report.
Group III: Prowlers - The prowlers roaming around the neighborhood consist mainly of vagrants staying in shelters or camping in the area, or otherwise living on the streets. Drug-related vagrancy is the common denominator of this (somewhat of a catch-all) grouping. The prowler group is alot like the Ponce & Boulevard group, except we have made the distinction between those frequenting Ponce & Boulevard, and the street people who do not. While Bedford-Pine drives alot of Group I (above), Peachtree-Pine’s influence contributes much more to the prowler phenomenon. Feeding programs also compound this problem group.
Many appear in the area of Cypress & 7th Streets as male street hustlers, but crop up in the MPSA service area as prowlers, dope boys, street burglars, and car break-in perps. These crimes are also perpetrated by vagrants camping in places like the Beltline behind Piedmont Park. In fact, we attribute nearly all of the remaining car break-ins and many of the burglaries to the prowler group. Sometimes they perpetrate street muggings, and can be seen casing blocks in the neighborhood. They come around day and night.
Among this eclectic group are also some perverts like Nakia Graham and Tywong McCoy, who are notorious for flashing and fondling themselves at women. This groups is also known for a moderate volume of urban camping camping – on business properties, vacant houses, along alleyways, in Piedmont Park and especially the wooded areas around the park. The dope boys drawn in by the trans prostitute gang are also in this group.
Group IV: Major Criminals - These are by far the most serious, but thankfully there are not many of them. Group IV consists of criminals who have perpetrated one-time major incidents, but appear randomly. They are not known to appear in the area chronically or regularly. These are not street people but mostly roving robbers sometimes striking other neighborhoods along with Midtown. We are happy to say that much of this group is in prison. Examples among these dangerous criminals include Nyquarious Edwards (9th Street carjacking), Sean Jessie (Penn Avenue home invasion), and Dennis Stallings (robbery perp in the February 2013 rash and was later sent to prison).
The typical scenario among robbery suspects is that they rove around town, sometimes in a stolen car, and hunt for potential victims walking along the streets. In some cases they park somewhere and walk around to prowl around for victims. This is reflected by the fact that in many robberies, stolen credit cards are used in relatively far away places like East Point and SW Atlanta within an hour after the victim is robbed. More about this phenomenon in our report on robberies from February 2013:
There is not a whole lot we can do at patrol level to prevent these, except to have an officer around as much as possible to increase the chance that these perps are quickly apprehended. These situations are always major calls, and require advanced APD resources because of the extremely dangerous nature of these individuals. Again, these are thankfully rare but very serious when they do strike.
Group V: Day Laborers - Mostly males (women rare among this group) congregating in front of the Home Depot on Ponce who sometimes camp, urinate, drink in public places, and generate nuisance complaints. It is important to note that we do not routinely catalog day laborers as such, as day laboring is a perfectly legitimate form of employment. They are only added to the watchlist when a criminal offense or recurring nuisance activity is noted. Our watchlist currently has only one individual from this category. Issues with this group tend to be limited to nuisance activity, and most reports of activity among this group are not pegged to specific individuals. We are also seeing fewer nuisance and criminal issues among this group than we did five years ago given that a collaborative effort between APD and MPSA has brought this issue under a reasonable measure of control to ensure that community concerns of more serious criminal activity, perhaps gang activity, never materialized.
The one individual from this category has a history of belligerence, obtrusive loitering, public drunkenness, and kicking someone’s dog. He’s still around, but seems to have mellowed out.
Group VI: Misc. Criminals & Problem Individuals - These do not fit into any of the other categories, and tend to be unique and random types of cases. Issues in this category almost always involve individuals appearing regularly or living in/near the neighborhood. Among these individuals we are not aware of involvement with street drugs or prostitution. Some like Kenneth Lamb are labeled as psychopaths.
Group VII: Other (nearby) neighborhoods - These individuals primarily appear in other neighborhoods or to a limited extent non-MPSA Midtown. This category is designed to accomodate reports and intel coming from other neighborhoods, and special requests from APD published in Eye on Midtown. We file them under this category if they are not known or believed to be ongoing Midtown issues, and sometimes stand a good chance of becoming Midtown issues later. Example: the individual who assaulted the woman in the park in Old Fourth Ward. There are only a small handful of these.
After 11 years of operation, we continue to make progress toward optimizing public safety & order in our beautiful neighborhood, but much work remains to be done. We work in two ways: by funding a neighborhood patrol through a membership drive, and by working to reduce the need for the patrol through efforts like court watch & collaboration with APD and other public officials. Ongoing support from neighbors like you is very much appreciated, and we look forward to taking Midtown even further in overcoming these challenges, and thereby enhancing the Midtown experience.
In an upcoming report we will discuss how we rate individual street criminals and problem persons.
|Legislative update - As we announced a month ago, we are pursuiing legislation to more effectively target the prostitutes and the johns they draw taking over the streets in a certain part of the neighborhood. We sent a letter to several legislators (linked below). One legislator has taken interest in our issues, and so far we have found the dialog to be very helpful in implementing strategies to combat this scourge. We are not going to divulge details at this point, but we are working in the background to bring about stepped-up measures to make it clear that these criminals have no place in our vision for a safer and more secure Midtown experience.
For now, we leave you with two things:
MPSA SPECIAL REPORT: THE DETRIMENTAL EFFECTS OF STREET PROSTITUTION
I. THE BASIC NATURE OF STREET PROSTITUTION:
Regardless of the form that it takes, street prostitution badly undermines the health and vitality of any community afflicted by it, and it becomes much more problematic when it occurs in residential areas. It is one thing when prostitutes ply their trade in a non-residential area like truck stops and abandoned commercial strips, but endangering people where they live is beyond reprehensible.
The twelve years we have been serving the Midtown community have shown us first-hand that street prostitution draws in a host of other criminal elements, starting with drug activity and then onward to the prowlers stalking our streets & alleyways, to car break-in culprits roaming the neighborhood, street burglars casing homes and residents, and even dangerous criminals that rob and mug residents and visitors alike.
Not only does it create a lawless atmosphere attracting further criminal activity (i.e. the Broken Window theory), but many of those involved with street prostitution also engage in criminal activity beyond prostitution and drug activity. Most street prostitutes have a wide range of issues in their criminal histories.
II. FALLOUT FROM STREET PROSTITUTION IN MIDTOWN:
- Drug deals taking place in front of people’s homes
- Vandalism in retaliation for calling police
- Menacing, threatening, and assaulting residents
- Johns accosting women living in the neighborhood as if they were prostitutes
- Rocks thrown at residents, their homes, and at their cars (as they drive by)
- Exploitation of elderly and disabled residents
- Drugs and weapons stashed on their properties
- Prostitutes using people’s back yards and front porches to service their johns
- The atmosphere of lawlessness that draws prowlers, car break-in perps, and even muggers into the area in which we actually live and should feel most safe
- Though thankfully rare, gunfights among those involved with prostitution-related drug activity.
- Children exposed to prostitution and its related criminal activity
III. FORMS OF STREET PROSTITUTION IN MIDTOWN:
Street prostitution in Midtown occurs in three major hotspots, which in turn serve as major anchor points for further criminal activity:
1. The most visible and problematic variation of street prostitution in Midtown is brought to us by very aggressive trans prostitutes who ply their trade in a gang-like fashion. They literally take over the streets in a certain part of the residential area on a nightly basis, and remain dead-set on maintaining that area as their territory. They generate an atmosphere of serious disorder, and bring in a steady stream of drug dealers into the residential area looking to serve them once they have have money from a trick. Some of the trans prostitutes even deal drugs under the guise of street prostitution.
2. We have remnants of the Ponce & Boulevard variants (both regular female and male street hustlers) revolving around a street drug culture. They also ply their trade in plain view of where people live – like Glen Iris Lofts, Ponce de Leon Court, and the Bedford-Pine apartments where many disadvantaged, single mothers struggle to keep their children from falling into the hands of bad influences. Many of these offenders also burglarize and break into cars in Midtown and surrounding neighborhoods.
3. Male hustlers converge on Cypress Street outside of people’s condos. While Cypress Street is outside of the MPSA service area, they crop up in the service area as burglars and car break-in perps.
IV. UNIQUE PROSTITUTION ISSUES IN MIDTOWN
Street prostitution in Midtown is further compounded for us by the way a distinct set of particularly aggressive prostitutes, namely what we have labeled the trans prostitute gang, band together to take over the streets in a certain part of our neighborhood to perpetrate their criminal activity. They do so in a blatant, gang-like manner and without any regard for the residential community they have chosen to afflict. And they are very resolved to maintain that portion of the neighborhood as their territory. Other communities experience different variations of street prostitution and with different demographic details, but the end effect is all the same – it poses a continuing threat to the safety, health, and vibrancy of the neighborhood we call home. It is simply not right that law-abiding citizens have to tip-toe around a band of criminals on a nightly basis.
V. THE CHRONIC OFFENDER PROBLEM:
Since street prostitutes almost always ply the trade in order to support a drug habit, diversion and rehab programs, and other services should be readily available- to those genuinely receptive to them and willing to make the necessary commitment to such. Since social services are not within our scope and mission we lack the expertise to go into specifics. But we need additional measures to enable our law enforcement agencies and court systems to address the problems of recidivist and recalcitrant offenders that comprise a majority of those engaging in street prostitution.
In our experience in working for a safer Midtown and researching the prostitutes and other criminals coming into the neighborhood, we have found that too many offenders go through diversion programs over and over, only to return to their circuit and resume criminal activity. Furthermore, street prostitution ends up being a prolific enabling factor in this cycle of criminal activity. We have participated in the court watch program at the Fulton County DA’s office for several years, and have seen this phenomenon in action over and over.
The most appropriate response to any kind of criminal activity must contain the core message that criminal activity is never appropriate and must stop immediately and unconditionally. Without this core message, alternative responses to criminal activity will inevitably fail because they accomplish nothing more than another way to play the system and continue to undermine the safety and quality of life for the residents of Midtown, much of which is driven by the relative impunity with which street prostitutes inflict their criminal activity upon the community we call home. This always leaves us with the critical question of how to best protect our community.
Inflicting this kind of criminal activity upon a residential area should be treated with increased criminal liability. Our years of experience have led us to the conclusion that legislation similar to the elements in the appendix of this report would better promote safe and thriving neighborhoods. We put on the table an idea for legislation making prostitution-related criminal activity a felony when it occurs in imminent proximity to where people live (we suggested that it be defined as within 500 to 1000 feet of a “dwelling,” which seems to be the preferred term in the Official Code of Georgia). We are, however, open to other ideas that would have the same effect in imparting a strong message that people have a fundamental right to a safe neighborhood in which to live, and that criminal activity in residential areas should be treated with extra sensitivity. We also would like to see this legislation target both the prostitutes themselves, and the especially the johns who encroach upon neighborhoods to exploit their presence in front of people’s homes.
In the interim this legislator also would like to see law enforcement step up use of an existing law that provides for forfeiture and seizure of vehicles used by johns when picking up prostitutes. Under Georgia law § 16-6-13.2, someone picking up a prostitute is subject to having a vehicle confiscated in certain instances. It also remains to be seen what the Mayor will do with the SOAP legislation introduced last year in city council.
Some pictures of the trans prostitute gang operating outside people’s homes: