Proposed ordinance targets businesses with more than 2 violent crimes in 2 years

A gun violence activist says, “going out should not be a death sentence.”
An ordinance discussed by Atlanta leaders aims to hold businesses with a history of violence accountable.
Published: Jul. 25, 2022 at 5:46 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - An ordinance discussed by Atlanta leaders aims to hold businesses with a history of violence accountable.

Atlanta City Councilmember Keisha Waites said the nuisance ordinance targets “bad actors.”

“These are businesses that have been habitual and repeat violators of city ordinances,” said Waites. “We’re talking about historical patterns of violence where law enforcement has received multiple calls.”

The ordinance would give the city authority to shut down establishments with two or more “violent conduct or crime” reports over a two-year period.

The legislation addresses loopholes like businesses changing property ownership or business names to avoid closure.

“It’s my understanding many of them have been cited, but there were challenges and loopholes and technicalities that prevented us from moving forward,” explained Waites.

Gun violence activist Aaliyah Strong supports the effort to curb violence.

“Going out should not be a death sentence,” said Strong. “I don’t think the city is against nightlife. They just want safety.”

Strong was personally impacted by gun violence in February 2022. Her fiancé was shot and killed while working security at Encore Hookah Bar and Lounge.

The business closed in the months following his death. Strong, who also worked at Encore, said the establishment had a history of violent incidents. An ordinance like the one currently discussed in the city council could have saved his life.

“You always think – that’s not gonna be me, or they’re going to do something about it, or this is how I feed my family, this is how I make my money,” said Strong. “But when it hits you and touches your family personally, you look at things through a whole different lens.”

Different bartenders in Atlanta tell CBS46 the ordinance might hurt job security. They also point out that crime on or surrounding the property can be unrelated to their business.

However, Councilperson Waites said most establishments won’t be impacted by the ordinance if it passes and emphasizes the legislation targets businesses with a history of violence and lack of security.

Waites could not disclose which properties are on the nuisance list. The ordinance will go in front of the city council on Aug. 1.