By John Schaffner

Crime in Atlanta Police Zone 2 is reported down nine percent for the year, including a four-percent decrease in burglaries and a 19 percent decrease in larcenies from autos, one of the biggest problems last year.

However, there has been an increase recently in break-ins and thefts of TVs, computers and electronics — which is following a national trend. Thefts of copper are on the rise again, as the price of copper has increased.

Those crime increases are where police are placing emphasis right now, according to Buckhead’s Zone 2 Commander Major Robert Browning and Lt. Mark Cotter, who made reports to Neighborhood Planning Units B and C on Dec. 1 and 2.

They also announced that Zone 2 is using what Browning called “hot spot money” to staff a holiday detail of officers that will be visible at shopping centers around Buckhead from now until the end of the year as a deterrent to crime and to protect shoppers and retailers.

Browning said the off-duty officers, who will be working shifts at shopping centers, will be paid overtime using federal grant money.

Cotter said Zone 2 officers have been apprehending about 20 shoplifters a week and recently caught four suspects in an armed robbery that took place on Collier Road in southwest Buckhead.

Major Browning, who took over as Zone 2 commander in the spring, recently returned to work after an extended medical leave for treatment of throat cancer. He showed up at NPU-C’s Dec. 2 meeting with Lt. Cotter, who was off the crutches he had been using the past couple of months after injuring his ankle while chasing a suspect on foot.

Browning said, “I know everyone is worried about crime right now and we do have a little bubble that has come up here within the past couple of months.”

Browning said the police are very concerned about the thefts of TVs, computers from homes and businesses. But he said they are not sure what the thieves are doing with the goods because they are not showing up being sold at the flea markets or street corners. He said some may be shipped out of state or out of the country.

Browning also said the increased pricing on copper has brought a rise in thefts of copper wiring from homes under construction, home and business air-conditioning units — even those on roofs — and catalytic converters on vehicles.

Cotter also reported that Zone 2 is working with the city’s code enforcement officers to placard houses that are vacant and have exposed wires, to ensure they do not become home for vagrants and homeless people. He said there are eight placarded houses in Zone 2 which stretches from Buckhead west all the way to I-285.