Supplemental Public Safety Program Marks 20 Years of Positive Impact
When commercial property owners (offices, hotels and retail) banded together to form the Midtown Improvement District in 2000, the area was transitioning from a disinvested place - known for vice, drugs and where not a lot of good things happened after dark - to a thriving urban center. The first order of business was to prioritize the basics: making the area clean, safe and welcoming to workers, residents, visitors and investment. Among the first formal programs the MID stood up was a supplemental public safety program known as Midtown Blue, developed in close coordination with the Atlanta Police Department. The officers' first day on the job as a 24-7 operation was October 25, 2000.
In celebration of this milestone, here's a look at the work of Midtown Blue in pictures.
While the physical location has changed multiple times over the years, Midtown Blue has always maintained its offices at ground-level to remain approachable for people who spend time in the district.
The work we do is shoulder-to-shoulder with APD to keep open lines of communication at all times, including sharing office space. Today, the combined efforts of uniformed APD officers and Midtown Blue Public Safety Officers (PSOs) result in more than 600 hours of supplemental patrolling in the district each week.
An important function of Midtown Blue is to convene regular meetings with other groups that have a presence in the area, including APD, MARTA PD, Georgia Tech PD, SCAD and Emory PD, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, private building security staff and many other partners.
Midtown Blue Public Safety Officers (PSOs) conduct check-ins every day with ground-floor businesses and property managers.
Midtown Green also plays an important role in enhancing safety. Crews work throughout the district to spot streetlight outages and report them to the City, as well as handle maintenance issues to create a safer environment.
Midtown Blue's vehicle fleet has changed since the early 2000s.
The patrol work for this supplemental public safety effort happens 24-7. This picture shows PSO Byron Watkins conducting wellness checks at 6am for people experiencing homelessness to wake them up and offer to connect them with social services. Read more about this work in our investigative series, Untangling Homelessness in Midtown.
In addition to personnel, the investment in video camera monitoring in the public right of way is an important component of the program. In early-2020, the camera system was overhauled to add new equipment. The district now features 158 camera views that connect directly to APD's Video Integration Center.
Another quality of life issue that Midtown Blue is working on is curb enforcement. More than 1,650 warnings and 180+ parking citations and moving violations have been issued since this effort intensified in late-2019.
Learn more about public safety in Midtown.
View crime trends and program impact by reading our 2019 progress report.