Citizens, APD chief unite to combat crime in Midtown

Residents and community leaders packed a Midtown Neighborhood Association meeting Wednesday night.

The group met at Grace United Methodist Church to talk to Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields about ways to combat crimes like car break-ins, burglaries, prostitution, and theft.

Chief Shields didn't give specifics, but she did say she's aware of the Midtown crime problem and is working on a solution.

The department is hiring additional officers. In fact, she says their numbers are up 84 percent from the same time last year.

While officers increase patrol in high-crime areas, Chief Shields asked members of the community to step up. 

She encouraged residents to get involved in the CourtWatch program.  

"When you have a case that's important to you or your neighborhood, go before the judge. Because your presence before the judge serves as a behavior modifier", said Shields.

The Citizens' CourtWatch program was created by District Attorney Paul Howard and is designed to engage citizens in the criminal justice system.

According to the CourtWatch website, "community members are encouraged to attend court proceedings and offer perspective regarding the impact a defendant's criminal activity has on a community."