Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced last Friday she will create an office of violence reduction to develop and implement strategies to make a safer city.
Bottoms made the announcement at City Hall, sharing recommendations that were submitted by the Anti-Violence Advisory Council she convened in May according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The council, composed of community members and partners, has advised Bottoms to pursue a $70 million investment into the recommendations. $50 million will be provided public funding through transfers from other departments. The other $20 million will come from philanthropic and nonprofit partners.
The funds will go toward the hiring of 250 city policve officers, an expansion of the city’s camera system and license plate readers on police cruisers and the addition of 10,000 streetlights by the end of 2022. The Atlanta City Council would have to approve the spending.
According to the AJC, Atlanta police have investigated 64 homicides so far this year, a 58% increase from this time last year. Last year, Atlanta Police investigated 157 homicides, the most in 20 years.
Bottoms said during the announcement, the rise in crime correlates with the coronavirus pandemic.
“Because our state was open, and there were many people coming into our city, we were starting to see an uptick in crime before many other major cities, and unfortunately what we saw was just not something happening in Atlanta,” Bottoms said Friday according to the Associated Press.
The plan also includes expanding the efforts of Cure Violence citywide, a group that works to prevent retaliatory shootings by meeting people on the street and in hospitals. The group also encourages Atlanta residents prone to violence to change their behaviors and encourage non-violent norms in the entire community.
Crime has become a hot topic in Atlanta which will vote for its city leaders this fall. Buckhead, an affluent neighborhood in Atlanta, announced plans to secede from Atlanta due to the spike in crime and lack of resources.
Mayor Bottoms will not be seeking reelection this fall.