May 23, 2023 - News

Buckhead ramping up private security patrols in shopping areas

A police officer stands at a lectern in front of a cruiser while a man in a hat stands nearby holding up a map of the Buckhead police zone.

Atlanta police chief Darin Schierbaum announces the launch of the new public safety program in Buckhead. Photo: Thomas Wheatley/Axios

Off-duty Atlanta police officers are stepping up patrols at five shopping and commercial areas in Buckhead to curb car break-ins and other property crimes.

Why it matters: The privately funded daytime patrols are the latest program aimed at reducing crime in Buckhead following this year's unsuccessful push — fueled in part by anger over public safety — to secede from Atlanta and create their own city.

What's happening: The Buckhead Safety Alliance raised $450,000 to pay for officers to patrol commercial areas like Peachtree Road and Piedmont Road near I-85 — that's where most of the crimes committed in Buckhead take place, the alliance says — through the end of the year.

  • "What we're seeing are people breaking into cars and looking for guns," Jim Durrett of the Buckhead Coalition, a civic organization and major supporter of the initiative, told Axios at a kickoff event yesterday outside the OK Cafe.
  • "If you've got a shopping center, that's where the cars are. And if you've got extra patrols coming through and coming by, that should suppress it."

The cars will also have dedicated cellphone numbers, allowing residents and businesses to contact the officers directly after dialing 911, leaders said.

Zoom in: The officers will patrol the following areas:

  • Howell Mill from Collier Road south to I-75
  • Northside Parkway north from Moores Mill to the Atlanta city limit
  • Peachtree Road south from Pharr Road to Brookwood Station
  • Roswell Road north from East Andrews Drive to the Atlanta city limit
  • Piedmont Road south from Pharr Road to I-85

Zoom out: Crime is down for the second consecutive year in Zone 2, the AJC reports, and homicides are trending at pre-pandemic levels.

Reality check: Private police patrols are not new in Atlanta, but the practice spotlights how more affluent areas of the city have more options when it comes to public safety. Other areas don't and must rely on city government.


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