Mitchell pushes curfew ordinance

City Council members and citizens presented ideas for public safety

Some Atlanta City Council members and citizens presented ideas Tuesday to crack down on crime in the city in the wake of last weekend’s rash of high-profile cases, which was marked by Saturday’s shooting death of former boxing champion Vernon Forrest.

Councilman Ceasar Mitchell, who himself was robbed at gunpoint early Saturday, said he will resurrect an ordinance he proposed last year setting a daytime curfew during school hours for children between the ages of six and 16. The curfew would be 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

“We’ve got to redouble our efforts to make sure all of our public safety officers have the resources they need,” he said after the City Council Public Safety Committee meeting.

Residents urged the council to push for more police patrols and programs to keep young people out of trouble.

“There is a crisis going on,” said Michael Langford, who said he is participating in plannning for a citywide summit on crime, scheduled for Aug. 8 at the First Iconium Baptist Church. “The house is on fire.”

Federal officials announced Tuesday the city will receive $11.3 million in economic stimulus funds to hire 50 more police officers. The city had requested money to hire 200 officers.

Deputy police Chief George Turner said the department was thrilled with Tuesday’s announcement, noting some big cities received no funding at all.

Turner said the department is trying to combat crime with strike teams in various areas and other tactics. Turner said crime citywide is down 9 percent so far this year, but he acknowledged there’s lots of work to do.

“We’re not satisfied,” he said. “People are still being victimized.”