Parts of Atlanta see massive spike in street crimes, projected to see even more in next few months

ATLANTA — A neighborhood near the state Capitol is the latest to see what appears to be a major spike in car break-ins in the city of Atlanta.

Car burglars went on a crime spree before dawn at the Capitol Gateway apartment complex, breaking into as many as 30 cars and trucks, making off with whatever they could smash and grab.

Jade Jones was one of dozens in the southeast Atlanta apartment complex who woke up to the bad news.

“I came out here this morning, and I see this and I’m like, ‘Are you serious?’” Jones told Channel 2′s Tom Regan.

Burglars broke into their cars before dawn, smashing windows and breaking locks.

“I came out and there was glass everywhere,” said Sherry Freeman.

She told Regan that the crooks got away with some court documents and a notary pad, nothing really valuable. But it still hurts.

“I feel violated. The leasing office could have at least notified us of previous incidents,” Freeman said.

Like other metro cities, Atlanta is seeing a surge in car break-ins and thefts. Both crimes are projected to increase by over 30% this year.

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“I have children and I’m sure some other people have children obviously as well, and you just have a safety concern,” neighbor Kina Agnew said.

This comes as the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office announces a new unit aimed at cracking down on street crime.

Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat said he hopes his new “scorpion” team will clamp down on violent crime and make these streets safer.

Things have gotten so bad that Dr. Melody McCloud said she is thinking about moving out of Atlanta because of all of the crime.

“I am personally thinking about it and I’m already putting out feelers,” McCloud said. “This is putting a big stain on the community and the city of Atlanta.”

There were at least two people killed among 14 shootings over the weekend. That’s in addition to all of the car break-ins.

“Crime is at a possible all-time high,” Labat said.

The sheriff told Channel 2′s Tom Jones that crime has even hit his own family.

“I had my daughters car vandalized. Absolutely vandalized in Buckhead recently,” Labat said.

He is hoping his new scorpion team will put a dent in crime.

“It is a group of seasoned veterans, if you will, that will really focus on violent crime,” Labat said.

He said the team will do thorough investigations on alleged criminals and hit the streets to track them down.

Labat said they won’t be like the Atlanta Police Department’s Red Dog unit that ran into so much trouble.

“We not just jumping on people. We want to make sure that we are very target specific,” Labat said.

McCloud would like to know more about how the unit will operate. But she is for anything that will make the streets safer so she can continue to live where she does.

“It just hurts my heart and it needs to stop. We are better than this,” McCloud said.

The sheriff told Jones that he will compile a top 10 list of the area’s most violent criminals and he will have a re-entry program to help those arrested get back on their feet.

The scorpion team will hit the streets in April.

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