Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant plans to combat summer crime by putting more officers on the streets, addressing gun violence and targeting nightclubs.
“Every summer we begin to see some increases in crime,” the chief said Wednesday, outlining a summer strategy to reduce violent crime. “That’s due to a number of schools being out, the number of social activities we have throughout our city.”
While the police department tries to hire 250 more officers, the chief said administrative personnel would be shifted to help boost daily patrols. He also plans to increase the number of weekend commanders.
As he said June 7, Bryant is restructuring the police department, giving more resources to its gun assault unit. The goal is to reduce the number of guns on the streets.
“We have to intercept that,” he said. “We have to do a better job of being able to find out where these guns are coming from and cut that avenue off.”
The police department also plans to better investigate and inspect nightclubs. Bryant said over 50 officers were trained to supplement those efforts.
In addition, he said the police department would leverage partnerships with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to disrupt gang violence.
“I think this will be a significant gamechanger,” Bryant said. “Gangs in the city of Atlanta really have their tentacles in every aspect of every kind of crime you could imagine.”
The police chief is also focused on the city’s youth. He said one officer per zone would be dedicated to youth engagement programs, and video surveillance will keep a watch on areas kids tend to congregate, such as shopping centers including Lenox Square Mall.
“When our youth don’t have anything to do … they find something else to do,” he said. “They tend to either be the perpetrators of something, or the victims of some crime.”
But Bryant said, “violent crime cannot be fought with just police alone.” He plans to educate and encourage citizens to create neighborhood watch programs, among other community policing efforts. “It takes all of us to be partners in public safety.”