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Metro Atlanta law enforcement leaders discuss solutions to combat crime

Law enforcement leaders from Fulton, Gwinnett, Dekalb and Atlanta discuss crime, its causes and solutions.

ATLANTA — Law enforcement leaders from the city of Atlanta, DeKalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett counties answered questions about the recent rise in crime during a town hall Tuesday morning.

The event was hosted by radio station 104.1.

All four leaders of the agencies agreed the pandemic played a significant role in the rise – along with other factors like increased gang activity.

"For anyone to assert we don't have a gang problem, they need to get out from under a rock -- we do," said Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat.

All four discussed initiatives underway to combat crime, such as the Boys to Men Classes in DeKalb County, outstanding warrant task forces, and accountability courts. 

"We put a scorpion team in place," Labat said." It is a crime suppression unit training with [federal agencies] going after street racers and those who do harm in our community."

The leaders touched on the myriad of problems with young offenders and addressed issues with teens selling water on street corners.

"What we can do is an arrest, but no court is going to hold a juvenile for jumping on a car," said Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant. "it's frustrating for police officers who lock up a 13-year-old...[they can] spend all days to find a parent," said Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant.

Each jurisdiction had its challenges. 

Bryant talked about why many officers left his department last summer.

"The most common conversation that I always have was with the families who said we feel afraid for you to be out there," Bryant said.

Bryant touched on the challenges of crime affecting businesses and shopping centers.

"What we look at is a number of incidences beyond a shooting." Lenox is not one entity; Lenox is made up of hundreds of stores," Bryant said.

Common themes of increased mental health services and citizen support emerged when the conversation turned to solutions. 

"As law enforcement, we are not able to do this alone; we've got to have the support of the community," said DeKalb County Sheriff Melody Maddox.





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