Atlanta Police Chief's Plea to Motorists: Stop Leaving Guns in Cars

With 100,000 people expected at college football championship game, city's top law enforcement officer urges attendees to use common sense.

Atlanta police search cars as they leave the area
STEVE SCHAEFER—AFP/Getty Images

A presidential motorcade and college football championship game on Monday in Atlanta, Georgia has law enforcement in the city worried about more than traffic. 

At a multi-agency news conference Thursday, the city's police chief urged the more than 100,000 people expected at the stadium to leave their guns at home.

"Please, please execute the highest regard and greatest level of common sense. We cannot have folks continuing to bring guns and leaving them in their cars," Chief Erika Shields reportedly said at a multi-agency news conference Thursday.

The appeal to the public comes ahead of Monday night's College Football Playoff Championship game between the University of Georgia and the University of Alabama at a stadium in downtown Atlanta.

The Atlanta police department did not immediately respond to requests for information on how big of a problem the city has with weapons left in cars. 

However, the problem is not a new one, and past events make clear why Shields used the word "continuing" when bringing up the issue. A news segment from 2016 details over a thousand larcenies from vehicles during a 28-day period where 115 firearms were stolen. 

"My concern is where the guns are going, whether it's here or it's New York I don't feel any better about it," Shields, then the deputy chief said. "They are on the street illegally, so we have to think it's not for a promising purpose."