Atlanta mayor launches Midnight Basketball League to curb crime

Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 10:49 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - On Wednesday, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens launched a Midnight Basketball League to help curb crime.

“You can get people out of a lot of trouble if they are in an activity that they love and people are watching, and they have games, and prizes and music to go along with it. The competitive spirit will keep it indoors instead of outdoors,” said Mayor Dickens, in an interview outside the C.T. Martin Recreation Center.

City officials said in organizing this league, they looked at the metrics of where crime was happening in Atlanta, who was involved, and at what hours of the day.

The league in west Atlanta will run on select nights through June with games played between 7-11 p.m.

Some players suggested this tactic could help with the crime wave gripping the city.

“I’m from a high crime environment, so I know around this time, all day long there’s crime going on, I feel like this right here gives you an opportunity to get away from that,” said Tony Hines, who’s playing in the league.

Dickens said he’s borrowing the late-night basketball league approach from Chicago to address high crime rates.

The mayor, along with city and county leaders, on Tuesday announced a new tracking unit to go after repeat offenders.

In the midst of these efforts to curb gun violence and criminal activity, state lawmakers are moving forward with a bill to relax gun laws.

On Wednesday, the House passed a bill allowing people to carry guns without a permit.

The bill will go back to the Senate for approval of minor changes before the governor could sign it into law.

CBS46 asked Mayor Dickens about the challenge of expanding criminal deterrence efforts while such state bills are being heard.

“I definitely want fewer guns on the street. You see the homicide rate and aggravated assaults are all related to people with guns. And too much quick access to guns can lead to those undesirable outcomes. So, I’m up here doing what I can do in the City of Atlanta, while others do what they think is best,” Dickens said.