Atlanta City Councilman and mayoral candidate Andre Dickens on Monday rolled out the details of his plan to fight violent crime, as he looks to make up ground on low name recognition numbers six weeks out from the election.
Dickens’ plan, called “SAFE Streets Atlanta,” focuses on bolstering Atlanta’s police force, implementing more community policing initiatives and arresting violent gang leaders.
“My public safety philosophy has been informed by growing up in Atlanta in the ‘70s and the ‘80s,” Dickens said a press conference Monday morning. “We need our officers serving the community, living in our community and invested in our community.”
Crime has become the top issue in the race, and several leading candidates have released plans focused on combatting the recent spike in violence, including homicides and aggravated assaults. Most of the candidates have said they want to hire more police officers and improve training.
Dickens’ plan specifically calls for hiring 250 officers during his first year in office. He also said he would create separate task forces focused on curbing gun trafficking and addressing non-violent matters like mental health and homelessness.
“I will be the recruiter-in-chief,” he said.
A two-term citywide councilman, Dickens said he hopes the crime plan can help increase his name recognition among Atlanta voters ahead of the Nov. 2 election.
A recent Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll found Dickens had just 5% of support among likely city voters, far behind former Mayor Kasim Reed and City Council President Felicia Moore, who both polled at over 20%. A plurality of voters, about 41%, were still undecided.
While 20% of respondents had a favorable impression of Dickens, about 72% did not know about him.
“Undecideds right now are winning the election. I want to make sure I get out there and shake as many hands as I can,” he said. “Knocking on doors, talking to folks and constantly being in the face of the public to raise my name ID.”