The Atlanta Police Department has issued a statement calling on individuals to “make better choices” after a weekend of gun violence in the city left one dead and a dozen others wounded.

Violent crime continues to plague the city even as APD and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms have pledged to combat incidents that have left residents demanding action. There has been more than a dozen homicides in the city since 2021 began, according to APD statistics. This follows 157 murders in the city during 2020 – the most in more than 20 years.

Sgt. John Chafee with APD’s public affairs unit issued a statement on March 1 regarding the weekend of violence:

“Over the past weekend, our communities experienced a rash of violent crimes. Seven incidents left a total of twelve people injured and one man dead. At the moment, there appears to be no connection between these crimes and they all appear to be isolated incidents.

These crimes began in a variety of ways, with everything from domestic disputes, to arguments with acquaintances, and drug deals gone bad. But the impact on our city is the same. These senseless acts undermine the feeling of safety our officers work so hard to provide our communities. The Atlanta Police Department will continue working to reduce violent crime, but some of these incidents require individuals to make better choices. Picking up a gun to solve disagreements is not just a police issue. These incidents involve people making poor choices when resolving conflict and it’s practically impossible to police that in real time. We need individuals to make better choices. The number of people who lack conflict management skills, and who opt to take a life, risk going to prison and abandoning their family and their freedom, too often over trivial things, is shocking.

The Atlanta Police Department has always been committed to reducing crime and keeping our streets safe, but police cannot be arbitrators for every argument. We need people to understand how important it is to settle arguments by walking away or seeking outside help. No argument is worth destroying lives. Be responsible and let it go, and understand if you choose to resort to violence in our city, it will not be tolerated and we find you and ensure justice is served. Our job is to keep the community safe using every available resource. We have some of the best investigators in the business, who are very good at solving crimes and they work 24/7 to find suspects. Our commitment to safety is unwavering, but we need everyone’s help to solve this growing issue. Together we can change the crime statistics and make the city safe.”

Mayor Bottoms has introduced the One Atlanta: One APD Immediate Action Plan to crack down on nuisance properties, provide additional resources to prevent gang and gun violence, disrupt street racing, and improve APD recruiting and retention.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.