ATLANTA - Amid a rise in crime and an officer shortage, Atlanta Police Department's Crime Prevention Unit met with citizens for a safety training seminar on Saturday in the hopes of engaging the community to aid in crime prevention.
Those in attendance received a "crash course" from Atlanta Police officers on how to avoid being a victim along with the guide on starting a neighborhood or business watch.
"Business are learning new things that the Atlanta Police Department is putting together to connect Atlanta, tips on how to start a watch patrol," said Lt. Derwin Brown with APD.
Myrna Fuller lives on the West Side of Atlanta. She says she's seen some questionable things happen around her neighborhood.
"Illicit car sales, drug sales, loitering, we had people going into the Goodwill dumpster pulling things out late at night," she told FOX 5. "We need to be ready, and we need to make sure that we continue to have a safe community."
New data provided by APD shows that crime in Atlanta is up 7% across the board compared to this time last year. The city is currently on pace to have more homicides in 2022 than in 2021. The number of homicides, which is up 28%, is amid a staffing shortage in the department.
"To combine our efforts for crime fighting, to give answers that the community has that they have not received in the past," Lt. Brown said.
The motive behind the seminars is all part of a broader initiative from Atlanta Police called the Community Oriented Policing Section. Their stated goal: crime prevention, including early identification and improving quality of life.