Atlanta creates office for violence reduction

A new mayor’s office for violence reduction will take the lead in implementing a strategy to curb the rise in crime in Atlanta.

Why is this important: The office is one of many recommendations made by the Anti-Violence Advisory Council, which was established in May by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to address the surge in violent crime since the start of the pandemic.

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  • As of September 25, homicides in 2021 increased 23% to 121 from 98 in 2020, according to the Atlanta Police Department’s Weekly Crime Report.

  • Aggravated assaults increased 17% to 1,850 from 1,582.

  • Thefts from vehicles increased 18% to 6,083 from 5,174.

Details: The office, whose creation was officially adopted this week by Atlanta City Council, will oversee funding for violence prevention programs and coordinate other funds for similar programs.

  • According to city council documents, the office would develop strategic plans to reduce violence in the city and coordinate city-wide programs designed to reduce and prevent violence.

  • It will have three employees, a director and two staff members whose position will be funded from the existing budget of the executive office and US bailout dollars.

  • The director will work with Atlanta Police and other departments that have anti-violence programs in place.

  • Office will also apply for grants to support programs aimed at reducing violence.

Recommendations of the Advisory Board issued a call in July for the city to focus on nine initiatives such as cracking down on harmful properties; hiring of 250 additional agents; adding 250 cameras to the city’s Operation Shield network; increase the use of license plate reader technology; and the addition of 10,000 new streetlights by December 2022.

What they say : Dorthey Hurst, a member of the Atlanta Citizen Review Board, said the committee is an “important first step” in addressing violence in the city.

  • The office also allows the manager and staff to focus solely on his mission and could play a role in bringing together the Atlanta Police Force, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office and the Sheriff’s Office to tackle violent crime. and recidivism, she said.

According to Hurst, one problem that contributes to community violence is the number of guns stolen from car break-ins across the city.

Even when the Office of Violence Reduction is operational, Hurst said it is up to the public to be more proactive in tackling crime in their neighborhoods.

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