ATLANTA — The rise in crime been a growing flashpoint over the past few months in Metro Atlanta. City and state leaders are trying to get things under control by creating a special detail to help calm things down.
Friday night, Governor Brian Kemp spent some time with the Georgia State Patrol, one of several agencies assigned to help patrol area streets both on the ground--and in the air.
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According to Atlanta Police statistics, deaths are up 57%, shootings 44% while arrests are down 43%.
That’s why the Gov. felt it was important to see first hand what was being done.
The beefed up patrols have been in place for about a month and according to the agencies involved, it’s making some progress slowing violent crime and finding drivers who lay drag in public places.
The Gov. says the two issues are connected and we all should expect to see a show of force this weekend.
“Violent crime that’s going on in the city, I think is just an issue that’s been let go for far too long,” said Kemp.
The patrols are a combination of Atlanta Police, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia State Patrol, the Department of Natural Resources and the GBI. Channel 2 Action News has spent time with the unit watching them in action as they made arrests all over the city.
The detail is a response to the fast growing crime numbers in Atlanta and concerns from residents.
“They want to see something done and be done about it. And that’s what we’re doing,” said Gov. Kemp.
The unit last patrolled in April. Major Kendrick Lowe of the Georgia State Patrol says officers made 734 traffic stops, were involved in 27 pursuits, made 17 driving arrests and 12 drug arrests. They also impounded 71 vehicles across Metro Atlanta.
“We’ll make concerted efforts and making a lot of traffic stops,” said Lowe.
“Our belief is if we have a presence, that helps deter violent crime,” said Gov. Kemp.
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Channel 2 Action News spoke with Georgetta Morton who has been an advocated for families of murdered Atlanta children for the past 10 months. She believes the additional state resources to help combat the crime problem could help.
“We don’t have enough police officers to get to these areas,” Morton said.
And while she supports the additional officers, Morton says having more community members involved would create potentially better solutions.
“You have to get more people that want to be involved. And we got to stop doing a whole bunch of talking.” added Morton.
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Channel 2 Action News reporter Matt Johnson spoke with Marissa McCall Dodson with the Southern Center for Human Rights about her opposition to the street racing crackdown and recently approved legislation.
Dodson believes more research should be done to see whether street racing or laying drag is leading to more cases of violence.
“To put more young people in a criminal legal system for conduct that we disagree with is part of the reason why we are where we are in terms of mass incarceration,” said Dodson.
The state and local detail will be out and visible this weekend, patrolling areas known for street racing. Governor Kemp says its part of a commitment to keep criminals off the streets.
“We’re going to continue to go after them. Unlike what has been the case over the last year or two,” said Kemp.
The agencies involved in the special detail say there’s not an end date set for their patrolling duties. At this time, they’ve been going out every two weeks. They’ve not said if that patrol schedule will change.