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Higher Visibility Equals Fewer Crimes
By Roishina C. Henderson

Higher visibility of law enforcement officers throughout Hartsfield-Jackson just may be the key to its lower crime rates.

A recent report shows that crime at the Airport is down by 16 percent from 2007, with a significant drop in larcenies.

“During peak times, we try to ensure visibility inside the terminal, among the vehicular and pedestrian traffic flowing on the curb and through the crosswalks,” said Lt. Scott Bennett of the Airport Section of the Atlanta Police Department. “We also monitor the taxi assembly area regularly to keep traffic flowing freely around its entrance as cars approach Terminal North.”

Under the direction of Deputy Chief Peter N. Andresen, who is commander of field operations, the division includes several patrol zones: the night commander’s office, the crime analysis section and the special operations section, which includes the motorcycles, helicopters, horses and more.

Bennett attributes a reduction in crime to a new homeless outreach initiative, where officers have been trained in crisis intervention techniques. The program, Homeless Outreach Prevention Emergency Services (HOPE), was launched in February.

“Our goal is to seek out homeless persons who are utilizing the Airport for shelter and attempt to get them into programs for assistance,” said Bennett. “So far, HOPE team officers have connected 153 persons with assistance services.”

The Airport police unit also uses new computer laptops in police cruisers that help them respond to emergencies faster and more efficiently. “The officers assigned to mobile units can file reports from their vehicles and remain on their assignments, instead of returning to the precinct,” Bennett said.

Helpful Tips for Theft Prevention

• Avoid leaving items in vehicles that may attract thieves. Electronics, such as cellular phones, laptops and hand-held computers, should not be left inside vehicles, especially in plain view.

• Loose change in an open ashtray is an invitation to a thief. GPS navigation systems are very popular with thieves as well. They'll look for the telltale ring the suction cup leaves on the windshield.

• Passengers should always be aware of their surroundings and keep a watchful eye over their possessions, both for crime prevention and homeland security reasons. Baggage thieves will pick up unattended items because they are sometimes easy to spot. Typically, a baggage thief will pick a bag off the carousel without really looking at it.

• Anyone seen suspiciously going through open luggage in restrooms or secluded areas of the terminal should be reported.

Source: Atlanta Police Department

© 2008 Hartsfield-Jackson News. A Publication from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. All rights reserved.


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