Atlanta police launch program to track down repeat offenders

Atlanta Police will establish a Repeat Offender Tracking Unit in partnership with the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office and the Atlanta Police Foundation.

Driving the news: Mayor Andre Dickens told a news conference on Tuesday that about 30% of arrests made by police each week are repeat offenders – people who have three or more felony convictions.

  • Tackling crime is a top priority for Dickens, whose crime reduction plan includes hiring 250 police officers and other initiatives.

About 1,000 people are responsible for about 40% of crime in the city, the mayor said. A person known to the justice system has been committing crimes since 1974.

According to Acting Police Chief Rodney Bryant, in the past four weeks alone, Atlanta police have arrested 75 people who have had a total of 1,800 arrests.

  • “That’s pretty much a classic definition of a life of crime,” Dickens said. “We catch them, we arrest them, we convict them, but somehow they are back on our streets and often they resume criminal behavior.”

How will it work: The unit will be housed at 132 Mitchell St. in downtown Atlanta and will be funded through a public-private partnership, Dickens said.

  • It will be made up of members from the Atlanta Police Department, the District Attorney’s Office, the Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia Community Watch Department.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said members of the unit will have access to each other’s records and whenever a repeat offender is arrested, that person’s record will be tagged to denote their status. Everyone working on the case knows the offender’s criminal history.

  • “We are literally handing them a scarlet letter to let prosecutors and investigators who touch these cases know that this is a case where we need to be more careful and make sure that justice is indeed served,” he said. she declared.
  • She later said the program would allow citizens to track cases of repeat offenders as they move through the justice system.

The other side: The Southern Center for Human Rights said in a statement that similar “draconian” recidivism laws at the state level have led to rising incarceration rates and state prisons in crisis.

  • “If the ODA plans to redouble its efforts on the very strategies that they themselves have admitted are not working in the search for a ‘solution’ that keeps people behind bars longer, the effort is doomed to fail,” the organization said.

Ryan H. Bowman