Buckhead’s Zone 2 police district will shed two border-area beats, starting on March 17, in a move that commander Maj. Barry Shaw will improve patrols in the core neighborhood.

Zone 2 has been the Atlanta Police Department’s geographically biggest zone, which is a factor in its crime rate, though officials have indicated the rate is out of proportion. Crime fears have been a big point of ongoing discussions in such forums as the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods.

Maj. Barry Shaw, the commander of Buckhead’s Zone 2 police district. (Special)

At recent community meetings, Shaw touted the plan to redraw the zone by removing two beats that produce more regular calls, while keeping the same number of officers. While that looks like a quick way to lower Zone 2 crime rates geographically, Shaw says it also will allow officers to focus on better patrolling residential Buckhead.

Zone 2 is “way too big, way too many calls for service,” Shaw said.

The beats that will be shed covered the Morningside/Lenox Park area on the east, and the Bolton Road/Marietta Boulevard area to the southwest, according to Shaw. That frees up two officers at any given time, who will be “dropped on top of problem areas,” Shaw said.

With the change, he said, “We just don’t have to cover as much ground.”

Some other zones around the city will gain and lose beats as well in the “realignment” plan, which came from a Georgia Tech study and was presented privately to individual City Council members.

Buckhead-area Councilmembers J.P. Matzigkeit and Howard Shook previously said they support the plan.

Shook, who represents Council District 7, said he loves the plan. “No [Zone 2] manpower reduction, but it loses two problematic beats. Given the heightened concerns about Buckhead crime, I’ve urged the chief to implement it ASAP,” he said.

“I strongly support APD’s work to shrink Zone 2, which is the largest police zone in the city,” said Matzigkeit, who represents District 8. “While Zone 2 will decrease in size, we will not lose any officers and all of District 8 will remain in Zone 2. The beat realignment is one part of a larger effort to reduce crime in Buckhead.”

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.