'Put the guns down': APD Deputy Chief shares how citizens can help prevent violent crimes

Atlanta Police Department Deputy Police Chief Charles Hampton shared a way citizens can help officers curb the surge of violent crime in Atlanta: stay calm and put the guns down. 

Hampton said about 20% of homicides are stranger-on-stranger, meaning most are not random and are between people who are acquainted with each other. He added that approximately 90% of the city's homicides involve handguns.

Hampton said, in most cases, verbal arguments escalate to gunfire. Hampton called on anyone with information on an unsolved crime to contact APD or Crime Stoppers if they know anything about unsolved crimes in the city. 

"We're asking people to resolve their conflicts in a manner where — again — talk or just simply walk away," Hampton said.

The plea comes after Atlanta exceeded 100 reported homicides in 2021 over the weekend.

According to APD crime data, the city has exceeded 100 total murders in a calendar year three times since 2010 — 2021, 2020 and 2016. Murders this year in Atlanta out-paced last year. It took 34 weeks for Atlanta to surpass the milestone of 100 reported murders in 2021 compared to 40 weeks in 2020. 

Hampton said the trend of rising crime is not unique to Atlanta. His message for people concerned about the trend was a proactive one. 

"For those who are involved in it, we ask you to stop doing it," Hampton said. "For the citizens, we ask that if you see something, say something."

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