Atlanta’s mayor and newly-promoted interim police chief held a press conference Tuesday to detail a plan to handle an expected uptick in crime in the city this summer.
“We invited you here today to discuss the city’s collective Summer Safety Plan to keep our residents, visitors, and business community safe over the next few months,” Mayor Andre Dickens (D) said. “Historically and across the nation, we know that data has shown a reliable uptick in crime during the summer months for a variety of reasons. This is why we’re standing here today to update you on our holistic approach to keep our community safe.”
Dickens said his administration will implement programs like increased lighting throughout the city to help reduce crime and car accidents.
According to the mayor, a summer youth employment program has also been launched. The goal, said Dickens, is to hire 3,000 14- to 24-year-olds to keep them off the streets, earn money, and develop skills.
At the event, Dickens announced that Darin Schierbaum, an 11-year veteran of the Atlanta Police Department (APD) will take over as interim police chief, as Chief Rodney Bryant heads for retirement.
Schierbaum spoke about the specific details of the plan.
“As we have done so far this year, and will continue to do, is focus smartly on the areas and people who are contributing to crime in this city,” Schierbaum said. “So our stratified policing model will be at play. We will be in the right areas, addressing the right individuals that are committing crimes. Many try to take advantage of the vibrant scene that occurs in Atlanta during the summer.”
“You will certainly see the men and women that are here today on horses, on motorcycles, on bikes present not only today in this park, but at our parks throughout the summer,” he said. “As individuals come to our parks – we know that that’s where we celebrate our birthdays or our anniversaries – all those events that are key to us as city residents. So these officers here will be out. We’ve changed their hours. We’ve changed their deployment. And they will be ensuring that those great events and festivities that we celebrate in our parks will continue in a safe manner.”
Schierbaum said that one of the tools used to fight the expected uptick in crime is called the Police Athletic League (PALs). The police form teams to play community members in various sports. There are still available spots for enrollment in those various sporting leagues, according to Schierbaum.
He also said the city will implement a program called Connect Atlanta, and asked business owners and those who own residential properties in the city to integrate their security cameras with the city’s police department.
“That allows everyone in Atlanta – our officers and investigators – to have real time access to license plate readers and cameras to quickly apprehend individuals, or find the most vulnerable citizens who need us at that time,” he said.
He also said that the city will join with federal, state and county partners in a program called 100 Days of Heat, which is a “highway enforcement of aggressive traffic,” including drunk and reckless drivers.
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