Ahead of SEC Championship game, Atlanta police urging gun-owners to keep firearms at home

Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 11:19 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Atlanta police are urging gun owners to keep all firearms at home or safely stored ahead of a busy sports weekend in downtown Atlanta.

“We encourage our visitors and guest coming to any events at Mercedes-Benz or the [Georgia] World Congress Center not to leave their weapons inside their vehicle and don’t bring your weapons with you,” said Major Brian Schiffbauer, Zone 5 commander for the Atlanta Police Department.

RELATED: No. 1 Georgia is favored in the SEC championship against No. 11 LSU.

“And if you do, make sure you have a lock box you can put inside your vehicle,” said Major Schiffbauer, in an interview with Atlanta News First on Friday.

According to recent data published by APD, theft from a motor vehicle has increased by 6 percent compared to last year.

As of November 26, there were 7533 reported thefts from cars in 2022. At this time in 2021, there were 7101 thefts reported.

This data is not specific to firearms, but Major Schiffbauer said firearm stolen from cars is an increasing problem across metro Atlanta.

Firearms are prohibited from Mercedes-Benz Stadium and are not allowed for SEC fanfare at the Georgia World Congress Center.

Major Schiffbauer said that they have increased the number of officers patrolling downtown Atlanta this weekend.

“We went ahead and went to a 12-hour shift [system], so we’ll have more officers on the streets. And we’re working with MARTA, Georgia World Congress Center police, GSU police, and all our public safety partners in the area to all get on the same page to get ready for the event,” said Major Schiffbauer.

Schiffbauer said that they also have staffed 24-7 virtual surveillance of downtown Atlanta using the city’s integrated camera system.

Despite a string of shootings overlapping the Thanksgiving holiday, according to recent APD data, personal crime, including persons shot, has decreased by 10 percent, compared to this time last year.

According to recent data, there have been 549 people shot reports to APD so far this year. That is down from 620 at this time in 2021.