Atlanta mayor lays out criminal justice reform to reduce violent crimes, combat street racing

ATLANTA — Atlanta’s mayor has introduced a number of proposed criminal justice reforms that she believes will help reduce violent crimes and help police crack down on illegal street racing.

The move comes after the city saw its deadliest year in more than two decades.

From senseless gun violence to brazen crimes of opportunity and illegal street racing, Atlanta residents told Channel 2′s Michael Seiden that they’re sick and tired of all the crime.

“I do not feel safe. I don’t think my children are safe. I don’t think their friends are safe,” one crime victim said.

Some families told Seiden that things have got so bad, they’re putting their homes on the market

and moving away to a safer community.

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“It’s just not worth the crime and putting our lives at risk,” one homeowner said.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said she shares the same concerns and that she vows to find a solution to this growing problem.

On Monday, she released The One Atlanta: One APD Immediate Action Plan.

“The One Atlanta: One APD Immediate Action Plan will address crime and, also, the systemic issues that lead to violence,” Bottoms said.

She also laid out the seven immediate actions she plans to implement:

  • Expand enforcement of nuisance properties.
  • Focus additional resources and increase targeted enforcement on gangs and gun violence.
  • Expand the Operation Shield camera network.
  • Support neighborhood safety planning.
  • Continue to focus on disrupting street racing and auto crimes.
  • Explore a new Public Safety Training Academy.
  • Improve APD recruiting and retention.

Seiden contacted the Atlanta Police Department, which worked with the mayor on these proposed criminal justice reforms, but it declined to comment.

He also contacted Atlanta’s council members involved in this initiative who support the mayor’s plan.

“We’re looking forward to the implementation of these tenants and making sure that we truly have a community-based, community-sensitive police department that is serious about reforming police measures and building relationships at every level of the community,” said Councilman Michael Julian Bond.

“I’d said that we’re at war with crime, and we need to start acting like it. And this plan really put a focus on it and is a very comprehensive plan,” Councilman J.P. Matzigkeit said.

“It’s a great first step and calls for some immediate actions to take place. I feel it should be more when we look at immediate solutions to long-term solutions, but this is some immediate things that can happen,” Councilman Dustin Hillis said.

“We are focused on the city of Atlanta. It’s a real problem here in the city of Atlanta, and it’s our job to attack it and attack it with our full force,” Matzigkeit said.

The mayor said there will be no more warnings when it comes to properties that violate the city’s code on capacity. If they are in violation, then they will be shut down immediately.

All nightclubs will close by 3 a.m., and the sale of alcohol will stop at 2:30 a.m.

As for the camera network, the city is working with the Atlanta Police Foundation to install more cameras around the city.

Surveillance is key when it comes to preventing crime.