ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms addressed the City of Atlanta’s spike in violent crimes, including gang and gun violence, during her first press conference of the year on January 21, 2021.

“I’m looking forward to continuing the working relationship, not just with our D.A. and our new sheriff, but with all of our partners on the focus of decreasing violent crimes,” said Bottoms.

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She said the work will continue with the “One Atlanta: One APD Immediate Action Plan.” Bottoms said officials will address nuisance properties and additional resources to target violence.

Atlanta police records show the number of murders increased by more than 60%, from 95 in 2019 to more than 154 in 2020. The number of aggravated assaults had also increased by 15%, up from 1,990 to nearly 2,300 incidents. Interim Police Chief Rodney Bryant says APD will release a 90-day plan that involves partnering with other agencies. “These different collaborations, and the restructuring of some of the things internally, will bring us the resources to address some of the numbers we’ve seen,” he said.

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Mayor Bottoms also announced new plans to launch the 311 Community Referral Services to handle non-emergency calls. “The goal of the 311 Referral Services is to improve public safety and wellness by addressing quality of life concerns in a way that provides people with immediate resources,” she said. Residents can report substance abuse, excessive noise and other issues. “We often get calls about homeless encampments. That would be an opportunity for folks to call 311,” said Bottoms. The city is initially launching the services at Police Zones 5 and 6, with plans to extend them citywide by the end of the year.

City Council was also looking at creating a Public Safety and Wellness Department for non-emergency calls, along with getting help from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on analyzing crime statistics. “I don’t believe that another department creation is necessary,” said Bottoms. “The CDC may very well be helpful.”

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She says she’s open to feedback once a feasibility study is done.