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APD increasing patrols along BeltLine's Eastside Trail

“We have officers on foot, bicycle and in an all-terrain vehicle. We want to make sure folks are safe while using the BeltLine.” - APD spokesperson Carlos Campos

Since its opening in October, thousands of people have hit the path to enjoy the Atlanta BeltLine’s Eastside Trail.

But it’s also been a draw for thieves, too, and in response, the Atlanta Police Department is beefing up it presence along the 2.25-mile section of the BeltLine that runs from Irwin St. to 10th St. and Monroe Dr., connecting the neighborhoods of Inman Park, Old Fourth Ward, Midtown, Poncey Highland and Virginia Highland.

Earlier this month, a 34-year-old man was jogging near the Old Fourth Ward Skate Park portion of the trail one afternoon when he was approached by three men, one whom was on a bicycle.

According to the police, one of the suspects struck the jogger in the head with his fist, and another produced a gun. The men took the victim’s cellphone before fleeing. It’s one of at least three such armed robberies so far on the trail, but BeltLine organizers and police don’t want it to become a growing trend.

"We have increased patrols along the BeltLine," APD spokesman Carlos Campos told Midtown Patch. “We have officers on foot, bicycle and in an all-terrain vehicle. We want to make sure folks are safe while using the BeltLine.”

BeltLine officials have communicated that a plan is underway to install more lighting along the trail, while additional measures will include security cameras and increased coordination with neighborhood patrol groups.

Atlanta police anticipates it will have its Path Force fully staffed and ready to begin patrols of Beltline in the first or second quarter of next year. The unit is being formed via a three-year $1.87 million federal Community Oriented Policing Services grant, which also calls for the city to contribute $966,075 in additional matching funds.

The grant is enough to fund and create 15 positions. A grant requirement stipulates that the city hire military veterans, and APD has said it would pull from existing officers to staff the Path Force.

APD announced the creation of the Path Force in June, which it said would be dedicated to patrolling and serving as a crime deterrent on the BeltLine. But until the Path Force is put in place, Eastside Trail users can expect to see more police presence during their time enjoying the BeltLine.

And Campos reminds all BeltLine users to be alert and aware of their surroundings while using the trail, and “to call 9-1-1 if they see suspicious activity.”

- East Atlanta Patch Editor Péralte Paul contributed to this story

JM Hurricane December 17, 2012 at 01:23 PM
I walked the Eastside trail on Friday and I must say it looks pretty amazing with the new trees. Can't wait till they bloom in the spring. There's also fresh Asian inspired grafitti art on the west wall of the overpass behind TJ's. That also looks amazing.
Marty Hashbrown December 17, 2012 at 02:37 PM
It seems like, until we do away with the Bedford Pine apartments and the rest of the crappy surrounding apartments/projects along the Boulevard corridor, the Eastside trail near Freedom Parkway will never be safe.
Chris H December 17, 2012 at 05:47 PM
I love the Eastside trail and just bought a home on the Beltline in tje OFW. However it is just easy picking for the criminals. Its just a new, easy revenue source for the criminal and drug machine that is Bedford Pine.
Urbanist December 18, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Hmmm...you mean when you develop green space and parks where there isn't enough surrounding density or diversity of development, those parks start to attract criminal activity? Hasn't someone been saying that all along? That the Beltline is an idea that is ill-conceived within the context of this city? Oh yeah, that was me. Good thing there are amazing new trees though...
Urbanist December 18, 2012 at 03:47 PM
The trail will never be safe until Atlanta (and it's residents) get their head out of their tailpipe, and realize that before you can build things like this, you need to have a proper density and diversity of development surrounding them.
aposter December 18, 2012 at 07:34 PM
The Beltline has already budgeted and spent monies to pay developers top dollar for property but has not done the same for call boxes, lights, police or other security measures! Thy should be called out on it and asked why.
Breck Prewitt December 18, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Here's how it really works: Green space, parks, bike and pedestrian trails CREATE density and development..it's called infrastructure! The Beltline is an incredible addition to the city and time will prove me right. When I lived in Inman Park in the 90's, at the corner of Highland and Elizabeth, people were scared to come visit me cause I lived in the 'hood! Freedom Park came along and everything changed practically overnight. Suddenly the overgrown field full of beer bottles was a manicured park with walkers and bikers. Yes, at first there was an uptick in crime. I used to tell people, "It wasn't as dangerous as you thought it was last year, and it's not as safe as you think it is this year!" There were plenty of naysayers like "Urbanist"(who I suspect is not very urban) about Freedom Park, but today Inman Village is filled with restaurants, businesses, lofts and apartments. The area is the definition of smart development and urban life, and the private sector has generated millions in revenue for the city due to the infrastructure investment. This is how it's supposed to work, and i it would not have happened without Freedom Park. I was right then and I'm right now, I guarantee you that the Eastside trail will sprout development like weeds and density will follow.
Urbanist December 19, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Brek, Is that a joke? Green space, parks, and trails create density & development? Yes, keeping an area of land as a manicured lawn and preventing it from being developed, creates development. How could I not see that? Any more gems of wisdom? Now, aside from the blatant stupidity, if you think that the Beltline will "attract" density and development to the neighborhoods it runs through, you're also wrong. The only development proposals for the Beltline thus far have all been car-centric and low density developments. A lot of the other areas are already developed...wtih single family homes (again, low density). So while you wait for "time to prove you right", I'll let evidence prove me right. This project is led by a bunch of people with their heads in the sky, who don't know the first thing about urban design. They developed a pretty project, put some nice renderings together, threw out some promising (but unfortunately highly inaccurate) figures, and got the support from a lot of other people that are as poorly informed as them. Inman Park is the definition of smart development? When is your next stnad-up show? While I like Inman Park for it's quaintness, Inman Park is a jumble of streets littered with parking lots, and a couple, maybe a couple, of blocks that could actually be considered walkable. It's a tiny little neighborhood, not smart development that fits into a city.
Tim December 19, 2012 at 03:42 PM
The Beltline from Midtown to Inman Park is already a big success. Just visit it any day to see hundreds and on weekends thousands of people using it. Perhaps the best addition to our improving city in many years. It adds park and usuable space to a city sorely lacking in parkland. It provides a great place for exercise and recreation. Many people I know already use it to walk to restaurants. Real estate values along it are improving better thant the city and especially the region in general. As for increasing density, it has done that and more. If you cannot see the thousands of new apartments and condos build along the completed section of the Beltline, then I recommend that you visit it at least once. I guess for some peole if it is not a high rise apartment building then it is worthless, oh well. Yes there will be safety issues, as there are everywhere in Georgia...and the city and Beltline are working to improve it.
Breck Prewitt December 19, 2012 at 04:40 PM
You are right Suburbanist, Central Park has done nothing for NYC..if only they had developed it, perhaps the city would have experienced some growth over the last 50 years. You seem interested only in creating some soulless Metropolis with no parks, trails or quality of life. Fortunately, the powers that be aren't listening to you and we are actively improving our city. I suggest you get off the computer and take a ride on the Eastside Trail, it will help you understand what's happening..it will also help with your anger issues.
Clicker December 19, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Ignore it Breck. It trolls every board in town talking about how smart it is and how dumb "this city" is. While fused to the sofa in mom's basement out in Lawrenceville no doubt.
Urbanist December 19, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Comparing Central Park to the parks that are part of the Beltline is completely out of whack. Manhattan is clearly a finite landscape that is, generally speaking, completely developed with the exception of central park. The reason central park works so well within the city is, as I had mentioned before, because there is an appropriate amount of density and diverse uses of development on all 4 borders of it. Were (i) Mahattan's infrastructure developed at a time when autos were a primary mode of transport and (ii) Manhattan not an island, with very limited available space to develop, Central Park very likely would be a useless park. Fortunately for the city, that's not the case. I have nothing against parks. I think they are incredibly important to neighborhoods. However, they are not more important than the development and populations that sustain them, make them valuable, and keep them safe. I'm not sure how you get away with ignoring fact and reason, but you do a pretty good job. I've been through the Eastside trail. It's pretty. However, it's also excessive and, as we all know (because of factual evidence) it's starting to attract crime. Why is it doing that? Because this city hasn't properly developed the areas around this park. So, again, keep believing that these pretty projects with nice photo opportunities and great promotions are an improvement, while the facts work against you. That would be the typical Atlanta attitude towards development.
Breck Prewitt December 19, 2012 at 11:06 PM
When Central Park was built, the population of NYC was well under a million. I'm sure there were plenty of people standing around bitching about it being "excessive" as Urbanist does now. Fortunately for New Yorkers, the park was built, and the city grew around it. Every great endeavor has to deal with the naysayers, those that lack vision, that only see the downside in everything. As I finished my ride on the trail today, on a beautiful December afternoon, all I could think was how happy I am that the city didn't listen to those people..and I look forward to enjoying the trail for many years to come.
Jessee Jackson's Rolex February 17, 2013 at 03:59 PM
we have been walking this stretch daily at dusk with our 45 cal 1911's looking for crims to light up, nothing like a Hornaday Critical Defense load to the face of Curious Georgie to cut down on the stealing
Dan Armstrong February 17, 2013 at 04:35 PM
the New York Times and other publications have done articles about the Belt line praising it .... THEY should know.

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