More police officers are patrolling some of Buckhead’s busiest commercial thoroughfares thanks to a privately funded initiative to provide more security in the affluent north Atlanta neighborhood.
The Buckhead Safety Alliance announced Monday the launch of its private security patrols by off-duty Atlanta Police Department officers who will patrol five commercial districts. The new patrols were formed based on recommendations from a 2022 report by the Buckhead Public Safety Task Force.
Cost to operate the patrols for a year is estimated at $575,000. The Atlanta Police Foundation donated three police cruisers for the patrols. The Buckhead Safety Alliance has raised so far this year $450,000 from businesses, organizations, and individuals.
Of that total, the Buckhead Coalition donated $250,000.
The $450,000 will cover operating costs through the end of the year and the alliance, a membership organization, is seeking donations to fund future patrols.
At a Monday press conference in the OK Cafe parking lot on West Paces Ferry Road, Norwood said the new security patrols “will actually make us safer in Buckhead for our residents and our visitors.”
Later in the day, Norwood announced via a press release she was donating $100,000 to the alliance.
Zone 2, which includes Buckhead, has seen crime drop two years in a row, according to APD. Crimes against persons are down 25% throughout the city, Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said at the press conference.
Schierbaum said through the Buckhead Safety Alliance’s initiative, there will be more Atlanta Police officers on patrol to assist with directions, assist with traffic control and respond to 911 calls.
The off-duty officers will have full arrest powers. They will also have dedicated cell phones with a number available to Buckhead Safety Alliance businesses and members to call for immediate assistance.
When asked about Southside Atlanta neighborhoods questioning why Buckhead was receiving so much attention for its public safety concerns when they are dealing with more crime, Schierbaum said the APD is dedicated to every neighborhood.
“The citizens of this city must know that this police department and our partnerships are present in all 245 neighborhoods and we fighting crime wherever it may appear,” he said.
“There’s a number of things at play here,” Schierbaum said. “We look around this audience, we see our elected officials, we see our business community, we see business owners, we see residents. It is the whole city fighting crime.”
Buckhead, like the rest of the city, saw a rise in crime at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. When looters and vandals hit luxury Phipps Plaza mall and other local businesses three years ago while riots broke out downtown during protest of George Floyd’s death, Buckhead residents voiced outrage and fear.
The Buckhead Community Improvement District expanded its own private security plan. Gov. Brian Kemp joined Mayor Andre Dickens to open a new APD precinct in Buckhead Village. Legislation supporting Buckhead becoming its own city by breaking off from Atlanta was introduced, but twice defeated. House Speaker Jon Burns included $1.25 million in the state budget to open a Georgia State Patrol satellite office in Buckhead.
The commercial corridors where the new patrols will operate are:
• Howell Mill from Collier Road south to I-75
• Northeast Parkway north from Moores Milld to the Atlanta city limit
• Peachtree Road south from Pharr Road to Brookwood Station
• Roswell Road north from East Andrews Drive to city limit
• Piedmont Road south from Pharr Road to I-85