Atlanta Police Chief looks for ways to curb gun violence

Atlanta police chief Erika Shields looks for new ways to curb gun violence.

She outlined the strategy in a meeting with council members. The need is obvious when you look at what has been going on. The chief noted the uphill battle officers have to try to get weapons off the street. Adults, especially gang members, send teens out to parking lots to break into those vehicles in search of weapons, said Shields. 

Those guns are returned to adults and they ultimately are used in shootings. 

Shields said one of her divisions (APEX) had made more than two hundred arrests in 2019 that involved guns. In more than half of those cases, the chief said, the individuals arrested have a conviction linked to guns.

Shields has instructed her commanders to tap federal resources and target prosecutions at the federal level. In most cases, an Atlanta defendant who is successfully prosecuted will receive a stiffer sentence at the federal level.