Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced that the Anti-Violence Advisory Council she created has delivered its recommendations for immediate and long-term actions to address the current violent crime wave happening across Atlanta.
The Advisory Council developed the recommendations by reviewing existing anti-violence efforts already underway by the administration and the Atlanta Police Department.
The recommendations include creating a Mayor’s Office of Violence Reduction, expanding APD’s repeat offender unit, increasing resources to APD’s license and permit team to handle nuisance properties, focus on hiring 250 officers in fiscal year 2022, increase the number of surveillance cameras and license plate readers, and add 10,000 new street lights.
The investment to implement the council’s recommendation is $70 million, $50 million of which would come from public funding and $20 million from philanthropic and nonprofit contributions, Bottoms said during a June 16 news conference.
Bottoms described the uptick in crime in Atlanta and across the nation as a “public epidemic.”
The mayor listed some of the “sobering” statistics mentioned in the council’s report, including that in 46 percent of homicide cases the perpetrator knows the victim. Ninety percent of homicides in the city are caused by guns. The mayor said APD had seized 939 guns since the beginning of 2021.
Bottoms said there would be a continued focus on youth in the city, including engaging with the “water boys” who sell bottled water on street corners and off-ramps. A new city initiative to employ youths has resulted in 1,400 jobs in the last three months, Bottoms said, and a youth entrepreneurship program is “off to a great start” with $2 million in federal funding.
She encouraged motorists to avoid “chaotic scenes” where water boys are aggressively trying to make sales.
Bottoms also praised APD officers and said she was grateful for their service and their sacrifices. She countered misinformation that has recently ramped up in election season that Atlanta had “defunded the police.”
“We didn’t do that,” Bottoms said.
The mayor, who announced in May that she would not seek re-election, also took a swipe at Gov. Brian Kemp, who earlier this week alleged that a lack of leadership and anti-police sentiments in the city was causing crime to skyrocket.
“I’m not the one who held a shotgun on a 14-year-old to show I was tough on crime,” Bottoms said in reference to Kemp’s infamous political advertisement. “I’ve been doing the work. It’s unfortunate that fingers are being pointed, but it’s an election season.”
You can view the Anti-Violence Advisory Council’s report online here.