Operation Heatwave: Atlanta Police crackdown targets guns, gangs, and drugs

Operation Heatwave is kicking off its second year. Atlanta Police say the intense summer initiative is meant to crack down on guns, gangs, and drugs, but some things are different this year.

Police say they have learned from last year’s success and are doubling down on their efforts to press charges. They say they are going to do their part, but they need to community, especially parents, to do the same.

Video recently released by police show young people carrying guns. It was an incident that happened last month which claimed the life of 18-year-old Dominic McKibbins.


Nationally, and annually, crime increases over the summer. Schools is out, children have more time on their hands, and police say parents need to ensure they use that time wisely.

"There are places to go, there are jobs which are being offered for youth, there are places to spend positive time with, interaction with mentors," said Lt. Ralph Woolfolk. "The mayor’s office is providing more resources than probably anytime or any administration in the previous years."

Thursday at 6 p.m., officers will double down on the streets. It’s the city’s second operation of this name.

Last year, officers say, their increased patrols during Operation Heatwave successfully stunted gun, gang and weapons crimes.

"After the conclusion of Operation Heatwave, we had a 29% decrease in homicides, a 26% decrease in person’s shot, and 14% decrease in robberies," said Deputy Chief Charles Hampton, Jr.

Thursday afternoon, authorities spelled out a clear message to parents.

When you talk about curfews, and you talk about kids being out late, those are parental responsibilities," said Deputy Chief Hampton. "And so we’re asking parents to know where their kids are. We do not want to come into contact with kids after hours."

While police had a specific warning for parents and kids, they say they’ll throw the book at anyone who contributes to summer crime.

The city’s curfew for kids under 16 is 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. It is an hour later on weekends. The city also changed the penalties for parents if a child is caught violating the city’s curfew.

Regardless, police say they don’t want to waste resources on getting kids home when they could use them on curbing violent crime.