In cooperation with the Atlanta Police Foundation, FEA recruited Atlanta Police Officer, Jamie Wallace, to move into an English Avenue house rent-free in exchange for public safety duties performed. Officer Wallace and her husband, a veteran Georgia State University Police Officer, reside with their family in the newly renovated house, located adjacent to our English Avenue Urban Farm on the corner of North Avenue and Joseph E. Lowery Blvd.
Read more about our Police Housing Project in this article from 11 Alive News.
The goal of this project is to increase police presence and help stabilize the community. In a community where over half the homes are vacant, simply having a contributing citizen occupy an otherwise vacant home reduces criminal activity. Lindsay Street Baptist Church provided the house for this project, while FEA funded the renovations.
According to the Atlanta Police Foundation, “Approximately 20% of Atlanta police officers reside within city limits. Increasing police visibility in Atlanta communities not only deters crime, but also improves the community’s perception of safety. Both play vital roles in stabilizing Atlanta neighborhoods and creating a safer city.”
Since Officer Wallace and her family moved into English Avenue in December of 2011, the block they live on has changed in major ways! Not only are the streets and sidewalks noticeably cleaner, criminal activities, such as drug sales, prostitution, loitering, vandalism, and public intoxication has come to a halt.
No longer are the residents on her street awoken at night by the sound of gun shots, and kids can walk the streets without having to witness drug dealing and prostitution. Thanks to the combined efforts of many, the crime rate in English Avenue has dropped more than 30% over a two-year period.
Officer Wallace has exceeded our expectations in forming relationships with the English Avenue Neighborhood Association, NPU L, and EA residents. Residents come to her on a daily basis for help or advice with issue they’re dealing with, which serves as a true testament to her compassion for the community. Officer Wallace also works as a mentor to the youth in the community through her leadership roles at the Police Athletic League (P.A.L.) and Gang Resistance Education Training (G.R.E.A.T.).
Officer Wallace and APD took a giant step that further demonstrates commitment to the community when Officer Wallace accepted an offer to transfer from her current post in the Zone 5 Field Divisions Unit to the Community Liaison Unit (COPS) in Zone 1—the zone that includes English Avenue.
Wallace states of her transfer: “I wanted to be able to address and resolve the issues I was seeing at home every day.” She is an inspiration to all of us and we are blessed to have her as part of our team.
Special thanks to the Sartain Lanier Family Foundation and Sarah Kennedy for providing the financial support to make this project possible.
Also thank you to Chad Davis and Mark Pope with Sky’s the Limit General Contractors for their work to turn this shell of a house into a beautiful home for a deserving family.