Security concern grows as number of break-ins increase


Tess O'Donnell

An increase in cars have been broken into in the local community. Sophomore Tess O’Donnell’s car was one of many.

Selena Kleber and Anna Tischer

Within the past two months, many students and teachers within the Grady community were affected by numerous car break-ins occurring not only in Grady parking lots but in surrounding neighborhoods as well.

Students and parents fall victim to the hurried lifestyle and forgetfulness and leave belongings unattended in their cars. A car parked during a school event, outside of a house, in a parking lot, on the street are all viable and easy targets for break-ins. Grady, during the school day, has some degree of security with positioned school police officers inside the building, but the security personnel are less active after school. In and around the Grady community, there has been a heightened number of vehicle break-ins in past weeks, centered specifically in the Virginia-Highland area. This increase in criminal activity calls into question the school’s and community’s security and whether there is a lack thereof.

Grady installed security cameras in what students refer to as the ‘dirt lot’ mid September. Shortly thereafter on Sept. 25, multiple cars were broken into on school property in that lot during an Inman/Grady Cluster chorus concert, volleyball playoff game and football game all happening on the same night. Senior Katie Dowd was one of four whose car was broken into, leaving her windows shattered. All that remained was broken glass, as Dowd was left frustrated and livid because the perpetrator stole her backpack, laptop and school supplies. Dowd notified the school, but the cameras were not properly set up.

Entire backpacks were stolen from the cars that were broken into, many of which had expensive belongings inside: cell phones, wallets and computers, as well as irreplaceable homework, projects and binders.

“It was very frustrating for me to have my car broken into,” said Dowd. “My parents reached out to the school and Bockman but no one ever got back to us.”

The break-ins occurring on the night of Sept. 25 were not an isolated incident. Multiple cars in the Virginia-Highland and Morningside areas have been stolen from in the past two months, resulting in smashed windows and missing items. Although Andrew Copeland, Grady’s AP psychology teacher, did not get his window shattered  on Grady property, his car was broken into in Virginia-Highland when parked on the street in front of his house overnight.

“It was pride weekend and I got ready for work as usual,” said Copeland. “When I went outside, I realized my driver’s side window was broken into. Nothing was taken though. I ubered to school that morning. No Starbucks.”

Adding to the list of students, sophomore Tess O’Donnell and junior Charlotte Spears got their cars raided.

“My car got broken into on Hooper around 4 a.m. because other cars got rummaged through at that time,” said O’Donnell. “They broke my window and took about $4-6 in coins from my dashboard.”

In some cases, not much is stolen, but in other cases, students lose all belongings kept in their cars. Spears’ car was broke into on Lanier Drive around 5:30 when she went inside for several minutes and came back out to a smashed window and a missing backpack and laptop. The police were notified. They responded saying that Virginia-Highland was “a bad neighborhood because of all the break-ins.”

Charlie Rollings, a current senior who moved to Atlanta at the beginning of the 2018 school year walked out of his house one morning to find his car broken into overnight in the Morningside area. Although no valuables were stolen because there were none in the car in the first place, the window needed to be replaced. Rollings found out shortly after that multiple cars were broken into on his street that same night.

“The cars are getting broken into in waves,” Rollings said. “I think the night that mine got broken into, four or five others near me got broken into.”


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