Atlanta mayor announces $70M plan to combat violent crime

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms just unveiled her Anti-Violence Advisory Council's recommendations to crack down on violent crime in the city. 

The council spent several weeks meeting and researching prior to making their recommendations.

"Roughly 70 percent of violent crimes defined as homicides, rape, aggravated assaults, and robbery are committed by people of the ages 25 and older," Mayor Bottom explained. "Youth under 16 years of age committed 10 percent of the violent crimes."

The council recommendations the creation of a Mayor's Office of Violence Reduction, implementing nine critical initiatives that are focused on locations and people most impacted by violence.

"Overall, the advisory council believes that the city has a very broad crime strategy plan but our efforts would be better focused if we really hone in on strategy to specific locations and People who are most inflicted by crime," the mayor explained. 

The nine critical initiatives suggested include public awareness, community capacity, and infrastructure building, expanding programs focused on violence prevention, local security planning, and focus on violent repeat offenders. 

The mayor pointed out that repeat offenders committed 18 percent of all felony cases adjudicated in Fulton County.

"Expand APD's repeat offender unit to track violent offenders to ensure cases are properly adjudicated. Continue to increase resources of the APD license and permit the team to enhance nuisance property enforcement - these are the clubs that are operating after hours." 

Some of the recommendations will be continuing or expanding initiatives already in place like hiring 250 additional officers and installing 10,000 streetlights in high-violence areas by December.

"At the beginning of the year, many of you reported that we were 60 percent up in our homicide rates," APD Chief Rodney Bryant said. "Today, we are less than 25 percent up in our homicide rate." 

The council also recommends investing $70 million to fund the initiatives.

"When our communities aren't safe or when they don't feel safe, nothing else really matters so people have to understand that for us to implement these recommendations, we are going to have to cut somewhere else. Where that is, we will best determine," Mayor Bottoms said. 

The city has also hired about 1,400 young people in the past three months including some of the young people who sell bottled water.

However, the mayor said it will take several initiatives to finally get them off the street.

"It's going to be a heavy lift to give them an incentive to come into a program where that's a lot less structured and the money may be a little less but the benefits will be long lasting and a lot more safe."

Mayor Bottoms said it will take a village to get these issues under control.

She said some of the recommendations may need to be approved by the city council before they can be implemented.

"This framework will help determine where imminent crime reduction programs should be implemented and where they can have the most impact in reducing violent crime," Bottoms detailed. 

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