“We are often asked by the community, ‘What can we do to help reduce crime?’” the department said. “We remind you that there are simple things like practicing responsible gun safety, choosing to deescalate situations rather than shooting someone, securing your vehicles, and paying attention to your surroundings are all things that can make a difference.
“And while not all crimes are preventable, what we know for sure is the 827 guns that were stolen from cars was preventable.”
The strong statement comes as police departments and leaders across Atlanta work to address an increase in violent crime in the city. Since the beginning of the year, Atlanta police have investigated 62 homicides. Last year, the police department investigated 157 homicides — the most the city had seen in more than two decades.
In early May, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms created a working group to provide recommendations for reducing crime. During a city council meeting Monday, police Chief Rodney Bryant announced he is restructuring the police department in order to create a domestic violence unit and expand its gun assault unit.
“We believe this reorganization of this unit will give us the ability to work more aggravated assault cases more thoroughly, more efficiently and take individuals off the streets more rapidly,” he said.
Atlanta police previously said many of the shootings they have investigated stem from a lack of conflict resolution between two parties involved in an argument.
“The gun violence we are seeing in the city these days is not about self-protection,” Atlanta police Officer Steve Avery said in a videotaped statement. “This is not a political issue. This is a ‘people’ issue about the choices people are making to commit violent crimes and reckless acts.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has asked the police department if it maintains data on the number of crimes committed using stolen firearms.