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Atlanta Police grapple with repeat offenders
by Nicole Dow
June 13, 2014 02:54 PM | 2362 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Although crime is down about 13 percent in Buckhead compared to last year and down about 11 percent throughout the entire city, repeat offenders continue to be an issue, Atlanta Police Chief George Turner told the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods Thursday at its monthly meeting at Peachtree Presbyterian Church.

“Over the last two-plus years … we’ve decided to focus on the top offenders and we’ve arrested 481 individuals, and out of that 481 people, those individuals were arrested more than 7,000 times,” he said. “Only about 7 percent of those folks did any additional time in jail.”

Turner said the average individual on the list has had 15 convictions. One particular offender has been arrested 92 times alone and has a record spanning 52 years, he said. Turner said one 26-year-old man has been arrested 14 times but the courts labeled him as a “first offender” the first six times he was arrested.

“He’s only in jail now because he finally murdered someone,” he said.

Turner said he currently is a member of a new commission created by Major Kasim Reed that is dedicated to mitigating the issue of repeat offenders and other problems with the criminal justice system.

“I hope there will be great recommendations that will come out of that,” he said. “We believe that the business community will have to force this situation to change.”

Turner urged attendees at the Buckhead council meeting to speak their minds and hold their judiciary system accountable.

Attendees at Thursday’s meeting also heard a presentation about another crime issue facing the city — sex trafficking of children. Greg Chevalier, a Buckhead resident of the Pine Hills neighborhood, spoke on behalf of Street Grace — a faith-based organization dedicated to ending trafficking in metro Atlanta and the nation — and the Governor’s Office for Children and Families’ task force on the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

Chevalier said about 7,200 men in Georgia purchase children for sex each month, according to a study by The Schapiro Group, an Atlanta firm that specializes in data collection.

“On average, there’s about 300 children purchased for sex in the state against that 7,200[-man] demand,” he said. “The same child on average is probably sold for sex 10 or 15 or 20 times per month. That’s a highly, highly troubling statistic.”

The average age of victims is between 12 and 14. Chevalier said the crimes are not limited to one gender, race or demographic.

He said a common misconception is these crimes only occur in seedy areas of the city or that this issue is concentrated amongst travelers coming through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

“Statistically speaking from the results of our study, 9 percent of all transactions was associated to the airport,” Chevalier said.

He said only 23 percent of the monthly demand for children comes from Atlanta’s urban core.

Chevalier extended an invitation for Buckhead neighborhoods to become certified as Champions for Safe Children through a training program offered by the Governor’s Office for Children and Families. The designation signifies a neighborhood supports ending the commercial sexual exploitation of children in its community and throughout the state.

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