A citywide rise in gun violence and crime over the last year, including a 60 percent increase in homicides, has left people feeling unsafe, says Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “People feel they can’t walk, they can’t jog, they can’t get gas at the gas station,” she said. During the previous weekend, a man fired gunshots at three joggers before running over a man with his car. Five people were arrested on assault charges after police say they severely beat a man before he shot one of his attackers. A fatal shooting last week marked the city’s 60th homicide case of the year.
To address this increase, Police Chief Rodney Bryant announced that he is “immediately restructuring” his department. Addressing the Atlanta City Council, he said the Atlanta Police Department (APD) will centralize its investigation unit, create a new domestic violence team and expand its gun assault unit. The changes will allow police “to work more aggravated assault cases more thoroughly, more efficiently and take individuals off the streets more rapidly,” the chief said. To help with these changes, the council approved a 7 percent increase in police department funding, which allows the APD to hire 150 additional officers and implement an additional pay raise.