GA Voice

Midtown Fears for Safety After Mugging at Rainbow Crosswalk

- Katie Burkholder

Two suspects accused of robbing and pistolwhip­ping a man in Midtown near the rainbow crosswalk at the intersecti­on of 10th St. and Piedmont Avenue are still wanted by Atlanta police.

Surveillan­ce video from Atlanta Parking Solutions, obtained by FOX 5 Atlanta, captured two men loitering in the area March 22 at 3am. A few minutes later, a group of three men approached them, coming down Piedmont Avenue. The two men followed them before the group went into Ten for about 10 minutes. When they left and began walking to their car, the two suspects appeared to be waiting for them. One of the victims ran away and the two suspects robbed the remaining two victims of their phones and car keys. According to police, one of the suspects pistol-whipped one of the men so hard, he was hospitaliz­ed.

“Call 911, call 911,” a bystander can be heard yelling in the video.

This happened mere hours after a man was shot while trying to stop people from breaking into his car at the luxury Dagny Midtown apartments on Juniper Street, only a few blocks away from the rainbow crosswalk. Police say the victim was a resident of the apartment complex and confronted a man wearing a ski mask who was trying to get into his car. The suspect fled in an SUV, and while he was driving away he fired a shot, hitting the victim in his lower abdomen.

It is not clear whether the two incidents are related, though neither of the men caught on camera during the mugging incident appeared to be wearing ski masks.

There have been no updates on either case and the news of these crimes may understand­ably

leave Midtown residents fearful — especially considerin­g the high incidence of gun violence in homophobic and transphobi­c attacks. In 2023, of the 35 homicides of trans and gender-expansive people in the United States, 80 percent were committed with a gun, according to data from the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund — and LGBTQ people in general are more than twice as likely to be a victim of gun violence than their cisgender and straight peers, according to the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data.

However, despite what these visible and sensationa­lized crimes may suggest, violence is down in Midtown — and has been steadily decreasing for decades.

The Midtown Alliance, a nonprofit organizati­on of business and community

leaders in the neighborho­od, was unable to comment on the ongoing situations, as they are still open investigat­ions. However, they shared their Midtown Public Safety Report, released in February, with Georgia Voice. It found that Midtown achieved its lowest crime rate in 25 years last year. From 2022 to 2023, violent crime was down 20 percent and property crime was down 24 percent. Theft from auto, the most prevalent type of crime experience­d in the neighborho­od, was down 35 percent from 2022 to 2023, with car breakins decreasing by nine percent. Similarly, pedestrian robberies like the one on March 22 have also significan­tly decreased over the last 25 years: 92 percent since 1999. In 2023, the Midtown Improvemen­t District experience­d only 12 stranger-on-stranger crimes.

While these numbers paint a picture of increased safety, residentia­l fears may not be quelled without more direct action. A user on Nextdoor, a forum for locals to share informatio­n and recommenda­tions relating to their neighborho­od, suggested that business owners in the surroundin­g area increase their security.

“During the week sometimes there is no armed security,” the user wrote. “… Every few months something big happens there, and the owners aren't held accountabl­e. Collective­ly, it doesn't have to be difficult. They can easily hire one or two off-duty officers or security for the area.”

In the meantime, anyone with informatio­n on either the shooting or pedestrian robbery are urged to call the Atlanta tipline at 404-577-8477.

 ?? PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ATLANTA POLICE DEPARTMENT ?? Two suspects (pictured) are still at large for mugging and pistol-whipping victims in Midtown.
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ATLANTA POLICE DEPARTMENT Two suspects (pictured) are still at large for mugging and pistol-whipping victims in Midtown.

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