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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

FBAC VaHi "definitely" expanding safety patrol

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In response to the recent, unrelenting wave of pedestrian robberies in the area — armed and otherwise — FBAC (Fighting Back Against Crime) Virginia-Highland is moving forward with expanding its coverage area to include the southern portion of the neighborhood.

According to Brian Gross, a volunteer with FBAC VaHi, three additional off-duty officers are being hired to patrol an area that stretches south to — but doesn't include — Ponce de Leon Avenue, west to the Beltline and east, almost to Briarcliff Road. There'll now be a total of six part-time, off-duty officers working five-hour shifts, five nights a week, in addition to regular police presence.

The patrol expansion can't come soon enough.

Just last night, at around 9:30 p.m., a woman was robbed of her purse and iPhone outside the Bank of America on Ponce de Leon Avenue at Frederica Street. The APD is in the process of preparing an incident report, but preliminary reports indicate that the man — a black male with dreadlocks — wasn't armed. When the service area does expand — which Gross says could be in a matter of days rather than weeks — FBAC officer patrols won't include Ponce nor Briarcliff Road, just the neighborhoods behind them. Still, officer presence could serve as a deterrent, even along the safety zone's periphery.

Click here to see a list of streets included in the expansion.

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