The Atlanta Police Department is urging residents to act differently as the number of shootings in recent weeks weighs heavily on the city.
In an online post Thursday, APD reminded city residents that June was Gun Violence Awareness Month, and asked Atlanta residents to work to reduce violence.
Year over year, homicides in Atlanta are down about 25% over the same period.
However, the department said violence in the city is “not just a police problem, but a people problem”.
According to the figures, between January 1, 2022 and June 9, 2022, the city of Atlanta had dozens of murders and non-negligent homicides.
APD data reported 73 homicide and non-negligent manslaughter incidents in the city.
Of those 73 deaths, according to APD data, 64 involved a firearm.
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For the same period in 2023, the total number of incidents to date is 53, 49 of which involve homicides.
The collected data is publicly available on the open data dashboard of the police.
While the city’s death toll is lower, the department said in its post that the violence remains a “plague, not alone [for] our city, but the nation.”
“People use guns to respond to disputes between family and acquaintances, to resolve quarrels with strangers and to victimize innocent people,” APD said in a statement. “This isn’t just a police problem, it’s a people problem.”
There have been several shootings in the Atlanta metro area in recent weeks.
Several have involved youth and teens, including one that left a teenage girl dead at Mayor Andre Dickens’ alma mater, Benjamin E. Mays High School.
Dickens spoke to the press about the need for change in the city and efforts to curb violence among young Atlanteans during the summer holidays, describing the shooting of the 16-year-old as “heartbreaking”.
“We are always heartbroken when someone loses their life in our city, especially if it is a young person. The day after school is out. Here we are today on the campus of Mays High School, my alma mater, my neighborhood, where tragically there was a shooting last night,” Dickens said while on the school grounds. “A young lady, an up-and-coming 11th grader, lost her life, and a young man is in Grady Hospital in stable condition from a gunshot wound. He is also an up and coming junior.”
Another teen-related shooting incident occurred at the East Point MARTA station, where a 15-year-old boy is accused of killing a 16-year-old.
APD pledged to continue taking violent crime seriously and using all available resources to combat the problem, but asked “people to make smarter decisions.”
The department said leaving guns in cars is one of many factors increasing violence in the streets. They asked Atlanteans to stop leaving guns unattended in cars, and issued a series of tips to reduce violent encounters.
If your anger management is so out of control that when you disagree with someone or want something you can’t have you think shooting someone is the solution, then you are part of the problem. Get help. Resources are available.
If you can’t go to a bar or restaurant and behave decently and treat others with respect for life, you’re stealing our peace and making our streets unsafe.
How you handle conflict is important. How you secure your weapon is important. Be it mass shootings, weekend shootings at the local bar, traffic accidents, gang or domestic violence situations turning deadly, the result is the same. These are people who decide to act unlawfully and without regard for the lives of others.
Responsible gun ownership is key.
Conflict management is key.
The post ended by asking the community to stay diligent, pay attention to their surroundings, and call 911 if they see anything.
“Together we can make and keep our city safe,” APD said in the statement.
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