Macon-Bibb officials held a press conference on Monday, November 30 to address the Thanksgiving weekend’s string of violence, provide an update on the cases, and announce new, stronger efforts to help prevent things from escalating in the future. In attendance at the press conference in addition to the speakers were several Commissioners, Commissioners-elect, Sheriff’s Deputies, and other local leaders.
Earlier that weekend, Mayor-elect Lester Miller and several Commissioners and Commissioners-elect issued a statement denouncing the violence and calling on law enforcement to take any and all actions necessary to conduct the investigation and protect the public’s safety.
Anyone with any information on the recent tragic incidents, or any criminal activity, should contact the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office at 478-751-7500 or Macon Regional Crimestoppers at 1-877-68CRIME.
“It is heartbreaking for us to be here today, and to have this streak of senseless violence across our community on a weekend when we should be celebrating with family,” says Mayor Robert Reichert. “We are here to console the victims of violence, to collectively condemn this senseless violence, to confirm that justice will be done, and to confront this needless violence and to pledge to take all actions necessary.”
“While we hold all of these families in our thoughts and prayers, that’s simply not enough. We must have action. We can’t do it alone; effective action will require a commitment from the entire community,” says Mayor-elect Lester Miller. “Today I want to send a clear message that, as Mayor, I will use every tool at my disposal to make our community safer. Those who commit violence and those whose actions feed violence will be held accountable. The victims and their families deserve empathy and justice.”
According to Mayor-elect Miller, some of those tools include supporting law enforcement, identifying funding to increase community policing and patrols, funding code enforcement to address blight issues create environments fostering crime, and funding mental health resources and services.
The Bibb County Sheriff’s Office has the ability to temporarily and immediately revoke a business’ alcohol license if they find that its activity contributed to or did not stop criminal activity from occurring at its location. They will be increasing street enforcement and undercover operations to check on safety measures, and to increase investigations of places selling alcohol illegally.
“This has been a rough year and a tragic holiday weekend. Justice will be done, and we will continue to follow all the leads in the cases,” says Sheriff David Davis, before promising stronger action where known illegal activity is occurring. “Going forward, at an establishment that has an alcohol license, if there’s any violence that occurs at that establishment, and it can be shown in any way that the establishment was in violation of the alcohol ordinance, we will immediately suspend that license.”
To alleviate the concerns for Downtown, Newtown Macon is expanding its Ambassadors in both numbers and hours for the nighttime and weekend shifts to help people who need assistance or information, and to provide support to the local businesses. To talk with an Ambassador to report something, have them walk you to your car, or ask questions, call 478-319-6509. Additionally, private security is being hired to help patrol the area through the Main Street Christmas Lights Extravaganza.
Newtown is also almost complete with a nearly year-long Responsible Hospitality Institute, a program to help growing downtowns create a nightlife plan that examines the economic impact, how to attract more people and businesses, and build a plan so that it is all safe and sustainable. Some of those recommendations are expected to include better communication between businesses and support organizations, safety measures, and in-depth training for a variety of measures.
“I am incredibly saddened and disappointed this happened. It’s just heartbreaking to think of families going without loved ones this year because of gun violence,” says Newtown Macon President & CEO Josh Rogers. “