Macon Violence Prevention making progress, but more work is needed, organizers say

Macon-Bibb County Mayor Lester Miller and county commissioners got an update on progress made in the first year of the program


Multiple agencies funded with the first $4 million investment into the Macon Violence Prevention program gave a progress report at Macon City Hall Tuesday afternoon.

“We’ve heard some wonderful things today,” Macon-Bibb County Mayor Lester Miller said after more than two and a half hours of progress reports.

In the regular commission meeting that followed, members of the public presented a different picture as they complained about slow response times when calling for help, and lack of deterrents for offenders who bond out of jail.

Leaders of organizations working to combat crime through the MVP program also say more work is needed. Additional funding will be available through the Community Foundation of Central Georgia, Miller said.

The MVP presentation also exposed effects of the law enforcement officer shortage that has prevented potentially life-saving temporary restraining orders from being served before they expire, according to Dee Sims, executive director of the Crisis Line & Safe House that has been focusing on fighting domestic violence.

Sheriff David Davis said recent efforts to boost the numbers of deputies are working. Davis said the department is recruiting certified officers from other jurisdictions for part-time positions and removing a loophole that prevented off-duty firefighters from moonlighting at the courthouse or serving ancillary law enforcement functions at festivals and events.

Davis applauded the Shot Spotter technology that is helping solve shootings and eliminate suspects by alerting authorities when apparent gunfire is picked up by strategically placed sensors.

Senior Assistant County Attorney Michael McNeill also shared statistics that show dramatic drops in crimes around several businesses recently closed under the nuisance property ordinance. The county is targeting blighted businesses and locations that have traditionally had a disproportionate number of public safety calls.

Highlights from the presentations and the regular commission meeting that followed are included in this summation of tweets sent during Tuesday’s meetings.