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Eric Gay / WABE

Friday on "Closer Look with Rose Scott and Jim Burress":

Alison Guillory / WABE

Wednesday on "Closer Look with Rose Scott and Jim Burress":

Looking Forward To 2016: Criminal Justice

Dec 29, 2015

As we look toward 2016, WABE’s news staff is gearing up to cover the stories expected to make headlines -- and airtime -- this year.

Reporter Elly Yu will continue her coverage of Georgia's death penalty.

"There are several inmates who have had their appeals exhausted," Yu says. "So it's likely the state will schedule more executions in the coming year."

Georgia executed five people in 2015.

Reporter Lisa Hagen says she will be keeping up with officer-involved shootings:

Thomas Hawk /

Senators on a study committee will meet one last time Tuesday morning to discuss how to sustain funding for the state's merit-based HOPE scholarship program. 

HOPE helps high-achieving high school students in Georgia attend college for free or at a low cost. 

The scholarship is currently funded by the state lottery, but lawmakers say the lottery is not providing enough money.

So, lawmakers have been looking at alternative sources of funding such as legalizing horse race betting in the state or collecting taxes from casino gambling.

J. Stephen Conn /


The city of Monroe recently found listed as No. 10 on a list of Georgia’s top 10 dangerous cities.

Monroe police officers say their city, with a population of 13,364, is anything but unsafe.

“Monroe is where I go to meet with a group of ladies that I do craft projects with," Kim Love-Myers says. "It’s about as minimally criminal as you can imagine.”

A placard of a child sits on a table during a conference on human sex trafficking  in Atlanta.
David Goldman / Associated Press

On Monday, Johns Creek police arrested 15 people in a two-day operation targeting sex work. It included an arrest of a man who is charged with seeking sex with a minor.

Over the years police stings like the one in Johns Creek have rescued many minors and adults forced into sex trafficking. It's also netted the arrests of traffickers and buyers. But authorities and advocates working to bring awareness about sex trafficking admit there's a lot more to do.

Atlanta's police Chief George N. Turner (shown with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed) is joining the executive board of a national law enforcement organization.
Michell Eloy / WABE

He is a 32-year veteran of the Atlanta Police Department, and some consider Chief George Turner a pillar of the community.

Under his leadership, and with strong backing from Mayor Kasim Reed, the Atlanta Police Department reached its goal of 2,000 sworn-in officers in 2013.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio addresses members of his DUI chain gang Dec. 11, 2007, in Phoenix, Arizona.
Matt York / Associated Press

Inmates at a Georgia jail will soon be wearing hot-pink uniforms, an idea borrowed from an Arizona sheriff.

Gary Jones, the public safety chief in the east Georgia city of Grovetown, said he hopes the inmates will be seen in their pink uniforms while collecting litter on public roads. Jones tells The Augusta Chronicle that he envisions motorists driving by and deciding they never want to be in that position.

Epiphany Byzantine Catholic Church
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

Members of a church in Roswell are working to rebuild their sanctuary after a fire this weekend.

The Epiphany Byzantine Catholic Church has some historical significance because it’s one of the only examples in the United States of a style of church architecture that originates from Eastern Europe. 

Aeman Lovel Presley, seen here in a picture from his Facebook, is the prime suspect in as many as four recent murders in metro Atlanta.

Atlanta police have made an arrest in the murder of two homeless men Thanksgiving week. Aeman Lovel Presley is a suspect in as many as four recent murders in metro Atlanta.

It is expected Presley will be charged with the shooting deaths of Dorian Jenkins on Nov. 23 and Tommy Mims three days later. Both men were shot multiple times as they slept outside.

Presley is also a suspect in the murder of Karen Pearce. Pearce was shot to death in downtown Decatur Dec. 6.

Officer Devon Perry and Officer Tony Luong shot on Friday morning on Glenwood Road.
Courtesy of the Dekalb County Police Department / Dekalb County Police

Two officers were shot with an assault rifle this morning in Dekalb County, according to police. Two suspects are in custody.

Officers Tony Luong and Devon Perry were responding to a report of an early-morning break-in at the Colony Ridge Apartments. When they arrived, they were both shot in the leg with an assault rifle.

Atlanta Police officer on patrol.
David Goldman / Associated Press

The same gun was used to kill two homeless Atlanta men who were murdered just a few days apart Thanksgiving week.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation compared the bullets that killed Dorian Jenkins on Nov. 23 and Tommy Mims three days later.

Atlanta homicide Detective David Quinn says the bullets match. “Only one gun was responsible for both scenes. And these scenes are not close to each other: they’re almost two miles apart.”

A clerk poses for a photo showing cash in the register at Vidler's 5 & 10 store.
David Duprey / Associated Press

Think of all the ways stores lose money.

Pricing Errors. Damaged Goods. But what about when employees steal merchandise? It's actually a lot more common than you would think. 

There’s a reason your average shopper doesn’t know about this problem. 

“It’s kind of an embarrassing topic,” says Richard Hollinger. He’s a criminology professor at the University of Florida and he’s been studying why and how employees steal for more than 25 years.

It all started when he was 16. He was working at a small grocery store just south of Macon, Georgia.

Juvenile Law Center

Say you were convicted of shoplifting a couple of times when you were 13. Fifty years later, you would hope that wouldn’t still be on your record.

But in some states, like Georgia, it probably is. And anyone can access it.

"Everyone assumes that these records are confidential and I think that’s because the public also wants them to be confidential,” says Lourdes Rosado with the Juvenile Law Center. 

Rosado says most states – including Georgia – are doing a poor job.

  The Atlanta Police Department says it’s looking at a new policy to help address crime in affordable apartment communities.

  The Crime-Free Multi-Housing Program is and it’s a national program that dates back to 1992. It’s already in place in parts of the metro area, along with more than 2,000 cities across the country in 48 different states.

The idea is to curb illegal activity in apartment complexes by helping property managers better screen potential tenants and engage with current ones.

How should Georgia compensate those who were convicted and imprisoned for a crime they were later found not to have committed?

That’s the issue a state House study committee began discussing Wednesday at its inaugural meeting.

Georgia is one of 20 states that doesn’t have a standard for how it compensates people who’ve later been found innocent according to the Innocence Project, a national nonprofit that providers legal assistance to those who could be proven innocent through DNA testing.

Burke Brennan / DeKalb County

DeKalb County is starting a pilot project to see if replacing plywood on boarded up houses with something that looks like a window – but isn’t a window -- will help deter crime.

There are more than 10,000 foreclosed homes in DeKalb County. County code requires the owners of vacant houses to cover the doors and windows with plywood.

For the next few months, the county’s going to make an exception as long as the owner uses a new product that looks like a glass window but is almost impossible to break.


Marietta police are partnering with the maker of a marker – that’s right, a marker – that could help your recover your property if it is stolen. 

It is a product called CopDots, and it looks like a cross between a felt marker and a glue dispenser. The stuff it dispenses is clear and permanent, and it contains thousands of tiny microchips that attach to whatever you mark on.

Courtesy of the Douglas County Sheriff's Office

Investigators in Douglas County will be the first in the state to have the latest technology to identify physical evidence at crime scenes.

Greg Ashcraft, the lead identification technician for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, says it’s like Christmas is coming a couple of months early. In just a few weeks, he’ll be getting a Tracer Forensic Laser System.

You know how you see CSI folks on TV crime shows spraying something on an area and pointing a light? And then it fluoresces and shows the physical evidence?

City of Atlanta

Federal investigators claim Atlanta city officials may have mismanaged up to $400,000 in grant money aimed at combating crime in Mechanicsville, Pittsburg, and other south Atlanta neighborhoods.

Atlanta Police Department

Lt. Leanne Browning pulls up a map of Atlanta on her iPad. It looks like any other map of the city, except for the fact that it’s dotted with these small, red boxes.

“It’s saying that in this box is a high likely of occurrence of your next crime happening,” Browning says.

Atlanta Police Department

Police have made an arrest in relation to a string of silver and jewelry robberies in Northwest Atlanta. 

Last week, Atlanta police recovered more than $100,000 worth of silver in a downtown Atlanta apartment.

Lt. Rod Woody says police arrested Farhana Sultan, who was charged with theft by receiving, but says the investigation is ongoing.

"We believe that we may have curbed this, hopefully with this arrest, and what we hope would be further arrests to come on that," Woody says. 

Rose Scott/WABE

The historic Sweet Auburn Curb Market near downtown Atlanta was the latest victim in a recent trend of smash and grab robberies.

Police say suspects crashed a stolen van through the market’s glass entrance and stole an ATM early Tuesday morning.

The entrance of the market was taped off, but otherwise, the market was bustling as usual during lunch.

Gerald Boyd, the security manager of the market, said he got a call from the alarm company at 5 a.m. Monday morning and rushed to the market. He says police were already on the scene. 

A section of the Atlanta BeltLine.

Expect to see more police officers on the BeltLine starting this week. 

The new Path Force Unit of the Atlanta Police Department begins its patrol this week, said Lt. Jeff Baxter, unit commander of the Path Force Unit. 

Since the Eastside Trail opened in October 2012, a number of armed robberies along the BeltLine has raised public safety concerns.

In response, the Atlanta Police Department has created a specific unit of about 20 officers who will patrol the trail.

Martha Dalton/WABE News

A recent murder in East Atlanta caused some residents to question the city’s commitment to fighting crime. Mayor Kasim Reed accepted responsibility, but also criticized the Fulton County Jail and judicial system for releasing repeat offenders too soon. 

“We have a major problem in the city of Atlanta with a turnstile jail and releasing people who’ve been arrested 20, 30,  40 times,” Reed said.

Atlanta Police Increasing Presence on BeltLine

May 10, 2013

Expect to see more police officers throughout the city of Atlanta, including Buckhead and the Atlanta BeltLine.

"We just really want to be proactive.  We're not going to sit still and watch people be preyed upon.  That's a really important thing," says Atlanta Police Department spokesman Carlos Campos.

Campos says the city is forming a special unit called the APD Path Force.

Jim Burress / WABE News

Atlanta police say they’ve made four more arrests in a string of brazen robberies and kidnappings in Buckhead.

At a press conference Friday, APD said the nature of the crimes led them to work especially hard on solving the cases.  

Part of the extra effort involved traffic checkpoints on Lenox Road.

MARTA Hopes App Helps Cut Crime

Apr 2, 2013

MARTA is taking another step aimed toward increasing safety.

It has released a new mobile app that keeps the lines of communication open with MARTA officers. 

MARTA spokesman Lyle Harris says the “See and Say” app gives riders a chance to quickly and discreetly notify authorities if something suspicious…..or if a possible crime….is underway on MARTA property.

Georgia Town Calls for Mandatory Gun Ownership

Mar 6, 2013
Bing maps,

There's a push to make gun ownership mandatory for residents of a tiny town north of Atlanta.  

Heath Mitchell has been the chief of police in Nelson, Georgia, for three years.  He's the only cop in town and once he's off the clock, the area relies on authorities in neighboring Cherokee and Pickens counties.

"The response time could be a lot longer.  You know, they have so much going on in the more populated areas."

The chief supports the proposal, even though he admits crime in Nelson is minimal.

The State Supreme Court is upholding the murder conviction and life sentence of a man found guilty in what was called the “honor-killing” of his daughter.

In July of 2008, Sandeela Kanwal was found dead in her father Chaudry Rashid’s Clayton County home.

The 25-year-old was found strangled in her bedroom.

Chaudry Rashid was tried and convicted of murder.

Authorities called it an honor killing because Kanwall wanted out of an arranged marriage.

She was seeking a divorce from her own cousin.