Atlanta police launching unit to monitor repeat offenders

ATLANTA — Atlanta police say the average repeat offender has 25 arrests on their record, and they want to put an end to the cycle.

APD is launching a new unit dedicated to monitoring repeat offenders on Tuesday.

Police officials told Channel 2′s Matt Johnson that a 28-year-old man saw his seventh arrest over the weekend after being found in possession of modified guns and illegal pills. But they say he’s far below the average for repeat offenders.

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A man arrested after attacking a woman and holding a knife to her throat outside of a metro Home Depot was placed under arrest for the 50th time following that incident.

Atlanta City Councilman Michael Julian Bond is on the City’s Public Safety Committee and was shocked as APD officials outlined new data on repeat offenders.

“These are people who clearly made a decision a long time ago that crime was going to be their enterprise,” he said.

To qualify as a repeat offender, the suspect must have three previous felony arrests.

The average age of repeat offenders arrested in the last week was 47, according to APD. And, on average, each had 25 arrests and five felony convictions, in their criminal history.


Currently, APD has just two officers dedicated to tracking repeat offender cases and highlighting them for judges. That’s why APD is launching a new repeat offender tracking unit.

The unit will include the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office and the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office.

Public Safety Committee Chairman Dustin Hillis told Johnson that finally getting these groups together will ultimately give judges more information when sentencing.

“To get either these repeat offenders not released on signature bonds, or these repeat offenders, making sure that they serve, you know, a proper amount of time when it comes to sentencing,” Hillis said.

APD says that nearly 25% of people arrested for violent crime in the last week were repeat offenders, so the department hopes these efforts will keep career criminals off the street.

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One concern some have is that if judges are imposing harsher sentences, will the jail enough space to handle it? Hillis says this is something he hopes Fulton County can figure that out, even if it means using other counties as a resource for the time being.