Atlanta mayor’s new anti-violence group meets for 1st time

ATLANTA — Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ new Anti-Violence Advisory Council held its first meeting Wednesday to begin its work on finding solutions to Atlanta’s rising crime problem.

Across the city, nearly everyone agrees that the spike in crime is a problem, but not everyone agrees on how it should be fixed.

Mayor Bottoms wants to hear the opinions of many different voices, which is why she created this new council.

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Channel 2 anchor Justin Wilfon sat down with two of the council’s members to discuss their hopes in what the advisory council can accomplish.

“There is no single thing that has led to this crime spike,” said Matthew Wesley Williams.

Williams is the President of Atlanta’s Interdenominational Theological Center and one of the members of the Anti-Violence Advisory Council.

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“My hope for the advisory council is that it helps to widen the city of Atlanta’s lens on public safety, so that we reimagine public safety so that policing alone is no longer one-size-fits-all prescription,” Williams told Wilfon.

Committee member Michael Langford is the President of the United Youth Adult Conference. He told Wilfon he is bringing his own list of ideas to the table with him.

“Part of my recommendation is we’ve got to have some mental health providers to come in, and counselors and talk to these young people,” said Langford.

Langford believes gangs are the major factor behind Atlanta’s crime surge. He wants to develop a gang task force to help take them down.

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The mayor’s office told Wilfon that the committee will report its immediate findings in early to mid-June.