ATLANTA - Following a series of FOX 5 reports, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is working to curb the recent increase of "bottle boys" selling water on city streets.
The mayor says the Atlanta Police Department is dedicating an increased response to areas of heightened concern. She says the city will not allow dangerous activity of any kind, including running out in the street.
“We appreciate the entrepreneurial spirit of youth who are selling water to motorists,” said Bottoms. “But we have seen an increase in unsafe and violent activity in some locations and cannot allow it to continue. It’s going to take a village and we are working with our partners to provide outreach and resources to these young people to help them gain access to job opportunities, workforce training, and educational programs.”
The Atlanta Police Department, community advocates and support groups are engaging youth who are selling water on Atlanta streets to direct them to safer and more beneficial opportunities.
The practice may not be new, but officials say what is new is that the public is giving the boys so much money - whether or not they take the water or Gatorade - that many of them turn aggressive and swarm cars in large numbers trying to make a sale.
In Buckhead, a 9-year-old who was selling water was struck by a car. Fortunately, the child did not get seriously hurt.
City leaders, including Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore, have already said the practice of allowing children to sell water at busy intersections is not working and needs to be ended.
Earlier this month, Mayor Bottoms issued an Administrative Order to convene an Advisory Council comprised of community members and partners to develop strategies to help promote youth entrepreneurship within the city of Atlanta.
The Advisory Council is set to report its recommendations to the mayor on July 31, 2020.