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Expert says guns a big problem in Atlanta but not necessarily related to gangs

Published: May. 11, 2022 at 10:48 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - There is a huge focus on gang activity in Atlanta as the Fulton County District Attorney makes targeting gangs her number one focus.

District Attorney Fani Willis recently said gangs are connected to much of the city’s crime problems.

But what role does gun violence in general have in Atlanta’s crime?

Dean Dabney, a Georgia State University Professor of Criminal Justice, told CBS46 it has a major impact, whereas he hasn’t seen the gang-related data.

“I certainly think that the nature of the gang violence is in flux and changing,” he said. “I haven’t seen any data that suggests the numbers she’s (Willis) presented, but that doesn’t mean it’s not the case.”

Dabney continued to say he has seen the evidence that shows gun violence and homicides are a big problem in the city.

“There’s certainly an increase in the amount of gun violence that exists on the streets, in and around clubs,” he said. “There are some patterns that can be identified in the incident data that I’ve seen, I just haven’t seen data that directly links to gangs.”

And while there is a target on gang activity specifically, some families of gun violence victims are saying they don’t want their cases forgotten.

Vickie Bell’s grandson, Corey Blount, was killed in northwest Atlanta in April.

“What happened to my grandson was very senseless, and we miss him dearly,” Bell said.

The 21-year-old was shot on Sunset Avenue after an altercation.

The family is desperate for justice in Blount’s murder and hopes this case doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

“Justice will be served, but I just need the community’s help and the police department’s help,” Bell said.

Atlanta Police told CBS46 they don’t have any updates on the case.