Atlanta leaders establish repeat offender tracking unit to combat crime
ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - There is a new crime fighting strategy in the city of Atlanta. City leaders established a special tracking unit to go after repeat offenders. Mayor Andre Dickens said the city must do more to keep career criminals off the streets.
“We acknowledge right now that any system that allows a cycle of career crime is a broken system,” Dickens said. “APD estimates that about 1,000 individuals, each one a repeat offender, are committing up to 40 percent of the crimes in our city.”
During the past four weeks, Atlanta Police said they have arrested 75 people who are considered repeat offenders with three or more felony convictions. And those 75 people have combined for more than 1,800 arrests.
“We have to start being very aggressive as it relates to repeat offenders. As the mayor stated, it is clear that repeat offenders are a significant issue in the city of Atlanta,” Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant said.
Chief Bryant said gang members are responsible for about 70-80% of the crime in Atlanta and of course many of them are repeat offenders.
One of those offenders, according to police, is 64-year-old Steve White. He has been arrested 45 times and was convicted of his first felony in 1976. Last month, White was charged with threatening to kill a woman while robbing her in a Home Depot parking lot.
“You will see jail numbers rise. I will be perfectly honest, and, in that space, it is because we are going after those who mean us no good in our community,” Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat said.
Another repeat offender on APD’s list is 60-year-old Jimmie Thompson. Police took him into custody on March 1 after he was stopped with drugs and a rifle in his car. Incredibly, records show he has 68 prior arrests with 14 felony convictions.
“We are now specifically tracking repeat offenders from the time of arrest. We are literally giving them a scarlet letter so that the prosecutors and investigators who touch these files know that this is a case where we need to pay more attention and make sure that justice is actually served,” Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said.
Mayor Dickens said they will be opening a repeat offender office that will be staffed with members from APD, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s office. They will work closely together to target the serial offenders.
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