The Atlanta City Council recently approved extending Midtown’s no-cruising ordinance by three hours. The extension came about from a proposal by District 2 Councilman Kwanza Hall in an effort to help combat the persistent prostitution issue around residences and businesses in Midtown.
The former no-cruising zone ordinance, which made it illegal to pass a control point more than twice within a two-hour period, extended from 7 p.m. to 4 a.m. But as many Midtowners know, those early morning hours just before sunrise are very active for prostitution in the area.
Under the new ordinance, the new no-cruising ordinance will be in effect until 7 a.m. It will not take effect until the posted signs have been changed accordingly, which should occur in the coming weeks.
Midtown has been plagued with pockets of prostitution for decades. No cruising zones in Midtown include:
· Cypress Street 5th Street to Peachtree Place // Cypress Street Peachtree Street to West Peachtree Street // Seventh Street West Peachtree Street to Peachtree Street
· Piedmont Park - 10th Street Monroe and Piedmont Avenue // Piedmont Avenue 10th to Monroe
· Midtown - 4th Street // 5th Street // 6th Street // Charles Allen Drive // Vedado Way // Lakeview Avenue // St. Charles Avenue // St. Charles Way // Ponce De Leon Court // Greenwood Avenue // Monroe Circle // Ponce De Leon Avenue // Durant Place // Argonne Avenue // Myrtle Street
New Metals Theft Law Expected To Boost APD's Crime-Fighting Efforts
A new law passed by the Georgia General Assembly this year went into effect Sunday and will greatly aid the Atlanta Police Department’s ability to combat metals theft, Atlanta Police Chief George Turner said last week.
“These laws that we advocated for will aid greatly in removing the economic incentives for thieves to steal air conditioner coils, copper wire, catalytic converters and other metals commonly targeted for recycling,” Turner said at a news conference. “Other portions of the law will assist us in our efforts to both regulate recyclers and investigative thefts. We’re grateful to the General Assembly and others who worked tirelessly to pass these laws.”
The provisions in House Bill 872, signed by Gov. Nathan Deal and taking effect on July 1st, include:
- A prohibition on cash payments from recyclers to sellers of scrap metal. Sellers also must wait three days before cashing a check or voucher issued to a seller as payment.
- Scrap metal recyclers must register with their county sheriff’s office and receive a permit to do business. Failure to do business without a permit will be illegal.
- Metals recyclers will also be required to enter all transactions into a new database maintained by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Recyclers will be required to submit photographs of the property they buy, the checks or vouchers they issue as payment, a signed and sworn affidavit from a seller regarding ownership of material recycled, and an image of the seller’s face.
- It is now illegal for a recycler to buy air conditioner coils or copper wire unless the seller is a licensed contractor. Also, copper wire that has been heated, charred or burned (often done to conceal identify of owner) cannot be purchased by recyclers.
- The purchase of burial objects will be illegal, unless sold by a licensed funeral director or cemetery. (There have been cases of metal plaques and urns taken stolen cemeteries and sold).
- Recyclers will only be allowed to operate between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., ensuring transactions are held during daylight hours most of the year.
The Atlanta Police Department, under the leadership of Chief Turner, advocated for the strengthening of these laws. Chief Turner spoke in favor of reform legislation at a news conference hosted by state Sen. Renee Unterman, and members of the Atlanta Police Department testified at several House and Senate committee meetings in favor of the legislation’s passage.
“Metals theft is a difficult crime to prevent, and prosecute,” Chief Turner said. “We worked diligently with our partners in the Legislature to strengthen these laws in hopes of drying up the market for these stolen goods.”
APD Lt. Dan Rasmussen, Commander of the Fulton County Burglary Task Force, noted that metals theft is more than just a nuisance crime.
“These crimes also have an incredible monetary impact on all of us,” Rasmussen said. “It’s not only the loss of the property, but it’s also the replacement and skyrocketing insurance costs, often to taxpayers and non-profit groups, since we’ve seen lots of public buildings, parks and churches fall victim to these thieves. We are pleased, and hopeful, that these new laws will assist us in fighting these crimes.”