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Atlanta mayor, police unveil summer safety plan, will keep rec centers and pools open

ATLANTA — Mayor Andre Dickens joined the Atlanta Police Department Tuesday to unveil their safety plan to tackle crime in the city over the summer.

Dickens and the APD command staff along with mounted patrol and motorcycle and bike officers climbed to the top of the grand overlook at Westside Plan to discuss the plan.

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The mayor acknowledges summer is when the city notices a crime tick up. He and APD have a number of plans to keep young people occupied through recreation centers and police athletic leagues.

All rec centers in the city will stay open and every pool will be open and free of charge.

Dickens said they will identify problem crime areas and put more resources.

“We’re being aggressive in that regard, but also you’ll see these individuals, they are out in the community, and they definitely have a community based strategy and being conversant with community members, talking with business owners, talking with folks walking on trails, the Beltline and across our city,” Dickens said.

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The latest weekly crime statistics as of May 21, 2022 show violent crime is up compared to the start of last summer. Homicides are up 32%, rape 16% and aggravated assault 3%.

Reducing crime and helping police morale have been top priorities for the Dickens administration. The city has created a new Nightlife Division and Repeat Offenders Division.

Dickens has also spoken with Channel 2 about creating a chief operating officer position who would be in charge of addressing the pressings needs of police, including a shortage of officers.

One part of the summer safety plan has already been in the works. The city wants to get teens off the streets and into good jobs. Dickens hosted a youth employment “signing day” on Friday.

Several Atlanta businesses were there, including Coca-Cola, Accenture and the Georgia Aquarium.

The goal is to hire 3,000 teens this summer.

“It will enable them to earn money, develop critical skills and partake in meaningful work experience that they can build on to set the stage for future successes.”

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Dickens has also brought back the city’s Midnight Basketball program. Games have been held at the CT Martin Recreation Center.

The mayor has said it’s a better way to spend a night compared to what some young people have gotten involved in. He said crime prevention starts in the gym.

“On the front end, it is events like this, midnight basketball, summer youth program, things like that, deter folks from getting involved in crime to begin with,” Dickens said. “That starts right here.”