In the wake of recent crimes in the LGBT community, the APD hosts a public safety seminar tonight at Outwrite

Learn ways to stay safe

The seminar is set for 6:30-7:30 p.m. at  Outwrite, 991 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta, GA 30309,

The event comes after the city has been rocked by three recent killings of men associated with the gay community, as well as a bias crime and several other crimes in the last several months.

Durand Robinson of Traxx Atlanta, the gay Decatur nightclub and party promotion team, was gunned down in the middle of Hadlock Street in southwest Atlanta on Aug. 25, a week before one of the biggest weekends of the year for Traxx — Atlanta’s Black Gay Pride.

Eleven days later, on Sept. 5, two young men — Samuel Blizzard, 21, a Georgia State University student from Spring Cove, Va., and Calvin Streater, 26, of Atlanta — were found shot to death in a Richmond Circle apartment in southeast Atlanta after police said they had attended Black Gay Pride events.

Police officials are quick to point out that there is no relationship between the shootings and right now there is no proof that sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation played a role in any of the killings.

“At this point we have not been able to determine a link,” said Maj. Keith Meadows, commander of the Atlanta Police Department’s Major Crimes Section, in a recent interview.

But such violent crimes impacting the LGBT community within days of each other, as well as other noted crimes involving openly gay people this year, have put some citizens on edge.

The safety seminar will work to teach simple steps that people can take to protect themselves.

Atlanta Police LGBT Liaison Patricia Powell has offered these tips in advance of tonight’s seminar:

• When possible, use ATMs only during the day.
• Avoid walking alone at night unless absolutely necessary.
• Keep to well lit, commonly traveled routes.
• Avoid shortcuts and dark, isolated areas.
• Walk purposefully, know where you are going, project a no-nonsense image.
• Avoid potentially dangerous situations.
• Always take a phone with you in case you need to make an emergency call.
• A crime or an emergency can happen at anytime, so always be ready for everything in advance, and be aware of your surroundings.
• Take a martial arts class or carrying a self-defense device like pepper spray.
• Be careful who you interact with on the internet. Don’t be lulled into a sense of comfort by simply chatting with a person online for several weeks. Criminals are methodical and patient, Maj. Keith Meadows said, and can lure you into feeling safe before meeting in public and then robbing you or committing another violent act.