By Richard B. Shapiro, D.D.S., Little 5 Points Business Owner
The officer on duty was promoted and re-assigned, leaving Mini-Precinct vacant for several months. Zone 6 promised to do its best to re-staff it. But given the shortage of Atlanta Police officers, we did not feel it was fair to ask the community for donations to keep the Mini-Precinct running, until it was certain an officer would be assigned there.
This wound up being an unintended experiment.
The lack of a police presence became clear. The plazas and public areas in L5P became increasingly occupied with an assortment of ne’er-do-wells, train kids, urban campers, illegal vendors, professional panhandlers, a whole cast of dubious characters. They took over the space, bringing and leaving a lot of trash, preying on passerbys, surrounding themselves with loads of personal belongings, living on the sidewalks, engaging in various levels of criminal activity, blocking much of the pedestrian right-of-way, and on and on.
But recently, Officer Tom Gissler was assigned to fill the Mini-Precinct vacancy. He is an APD officer with an excellent background and skill set for the job. The positive changes after his arrival were rapid and profound–the area cleaned up, many less troublemakers were hanging around, behaviors improved…the area looks and feels, cleaner, safer, and more pleasant. A palpable, significant and welcome contrast to the preceding problems.
We’re often asked if the Mini-Precinct’s police presence makes a difference, well we just lived through a pretty impressive demonstration proving how much t does.
Our Mini-Precinct Satellite Police Station is now in its 21st year and continues to be a cornerstone in our community’s approach to reduce crime. Thus, the yearly appeal for individual donations.
This is a public/private partnership between the City of Atlanta and community. The officers, equipment, supplies, computers, electronic and video communication gear, etc., are funded by the Police Department. The community provided the funds to renovate the space and continues to pay for rent, repairs, utilities and other operating costs. That funding has come from L5P Business Association and its members; Neighborhood Organizations; and contributions from individual households in the area.
It’s really a no-brainer — having officers here protects people, possessions, and property values. Your financial support is particularly important to keep this valuable and truly vital facility open.
Please send your personal contribution now. Matching or increasing your last year’s contribution, or sending $75 or more, is suggested, but every dollar helps.
Donating is the right thing to do for your community, your neighbors and yourself.
Send your check (include your name, address and phone number) to: L5PBA Mini-Precinct Fund, PO Box 5733, Atlanta, GA 31107.