Atlanta officials see more gun violence in the city and are taking steps to try to reduce it, the city’s chief operating officer says.

“A lot more people are carrying guns and, in a lot of auto thefts, a lot more people are stealing guns,” Atlanta COO Daniel Gordon told members of the Buckhead Business Association on June 30.

Atlanta COO Daniel Gordon talks to the Buckhead Business Association on June 30.

Gordon said overall crime in the city is down, but the number of homicides involving guns is rising. It appears, he said, that because more people are carrying guns now, there is less time for a “cooling off period” during arguments before shooting starts.

Also on June 30, the Buckhead Coalition announced it was offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for  recent armed robberies around Buckhead shopping centers.

“It is of paramount importance to the public safety of those who live, visit, work, and play in this community that such heinous criminal behavior be vigilantly protected against,”  Coalition president Sam Massell said in a press release.

Atlanta police reported June 29 that the city had recorded 57 homicides this year and that 50 of those involved gunfire, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported. At this point last year, the city had recorded 44 homicides, the newspaper’s MyAJC website reports.

“I do feel very safe in our city, but we’ve got to do more,” Gordon said.

Atlanta city officials and representatives of state and federal law enforcement agencies on June 29 unveiled a “Summer Action Plan” to address the rise in gun violence and crime, the newspaper reported.

“June is time we saw a lot of crime spike, so we’re trying to stay ahead of it,” Gordon said.

But fixing the problem will require more than simply adding more police, he said.

“We respect the judicial process, but we can’t just look at this as a policing,” he said. “We’ve got to look at it as community engagement.”

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.