ATLANTA - Atlanta is a "safer place." At least that’s the word from city and state law enforcement when it comes to violent crime. They say "Operation Heatwave" is the reason. It’s a summer initiative targeting gang, drug and gun crime.
"Heatwave" is in its second year of existence. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, State Attorney General Chris Carr and Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum say the program is dramatically cutting down crime throughout the city.
"Operation Heatwave 2023 has been a success," Willis said. "Atlanta homicides are down by 29%. All crime in the city and in Fulton County is down 21%."
"Those operations have resulted in 39 known gang members being arrested. That’s not just a number. That’s a lot of people who get to have Thanksgiving dinner with their family, a lot of fathers who get to raise their children and make this society better," Willis said.
Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum (center) and Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (right) give an update on Operation Heatwave Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023.
Those arrests included Willie Dennis, charged with murder; Chiquille Bell, hit with gang offenses; Tekiel Mitchell, wanted on weapons charges; and Fernando Crenshaw, accused of drug trafficking.
Schierbaum says his department focuses on areas where gangs are known to operate.
"We’re using data and intelligence to go after the people, and we’re going after the places we know are driving crimes here in Atlanta," Schierbaum said.
The chief had this message for gang members.
"If you’re operating a gang operation in this city, if you are running guns in the city, if you are dealing drugs in this city, you will meet the Atlanta Police department," Schierbaum said.