Police and city officials address Midtown residents crime concerns


Peter Thrasher

Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields addressed crime in Midtown at a community meeting on Nov. 6.

Cole Parker

Repeat offenders are responsible for a recent increase in crime in Midtown, according to city and police officials.

“I do not know why someone getting arrested 30 to 40 times is acceptable,” Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields said at a community meeting sponsored by the Midtown Neighbors Association addressing crime in the community. “Repeat offenders are an issue that can be solved by judges by holding criminals accountable. If there are no consequences, then one can not deter an individual.”

In the past few months, there have been several high-profile shootings in the area, most recently, earlier this month on Parkway Drive, which becomes Charles Allen Drive once it crosses Ponce DeLeon Avenue. Shields said residents must be actively involved in reporting crimes. In June, seven people were shot in a drive-by shooting on Parkway at North Avenue, and in October, a man was shot and killed at the Citgo gas station on Boulevard at North Avenue. Both locations are about a half mile from Grady.

“When individuals are involved and informed about what is going on in their community, prosecutors, district attorneys, and police chiefs pay attention,” Shields said. “It is about realizing that the community is communicating about what is frustrating them so authorities can be better informed and responsive.”

The police department has had a shortage of officers that City Councilman Amir Farokhi said is being addressed by a recent pay raise that has increased hiring by 80 percent. 

“This past year we received around $680 million and a greater portion of it is being put into police officer’s salaries,” Faroki said.

In addition to overall crime in the area, Shields said residents should be particularly vigilant during the holiday season as crime tends to increase and that residents should keep valuables out of sight in their cars and report suspicious activities.

“When you get into the holiday seasons, there tends to be more property crimes because goods are being purchased and unprotected,” Shields said.