Atlanta is a beautiful city with a vibrant culture and plenty of delightful sights, sounds, and tastes, but unfortunately, the city has been plagued by a crime rate that has spiraled out of control.
The Atlanta Police Department (APD) released statistics last week that demonstrate just how rampant crime has become.
Although overall crimes are down 10% and robberies are down by over a third, homicides and burglaries have increased dramatically, and rapes have tripled.
Several crimes have captured the city’s attention in the first two months of the year. The death of a six-month-old baby in a drive-by shooting and the killing of a British scientist by a stray bullet are among the horrific crimes that made headlines in January.
Just this week, the murder of a security guard at a car dealership just outside of Atlanta has led metro residents to wonder what local leaders will do to curb the spike in crime.
Atlanta’s newly inaugurated mayor, Andre Dickens, has committed to hiring more police officers and installing streetlights, CCTV cameras, and license plate readers throughout the city in an attempt to get serious about crime.
Dickens’ crime reduction measures are long overdue after four years of Keisha Lance Bottoms’ leadership. Bottoms wasn’t the first woman to be elected mayor of Atlanta — Shirley Franklin claimed that title, and Bottoms faced another woman in the runoff election that put her in power — but she represented a new breed of younger, more vibrant leaders for the city. Predating Stacey Abrams’ rise to prominence by a year, Bottoms said her victory was proof of “black girl magic.”
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Bottoms’ tenure in office didn’t have many bumps in the road until the twin specters of 2020 — COVID-19 and the racial tensions that arose nationwide after the killing of George Floyd — led to a dramatic rise in crime in the city.
When Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp made the decision to re-open his state after the initial COVID lockdowns (earlier than Gov. Ron DeSantis reopened Florida, this Georgian is proud to point out), Bottoms was one of Kemp’s most public critics. She fought his administration at every turn, especially when it came to ending mask mandates.
When riots after the death of Floyd rocked parts of the city, Bottoms urged rioters to stand down.
“Go home,” she said publicly. “When Dr. King was assassinated, we didn’t do this to our city. So if you love this city — this city that has had a legacy of Black mayors and Black police chiefs and people who care about this city, where more than 50% of the business owners in Metro Atlanta are minority business owners — if you care about this city, then go home.”
After the shooting of a man at the hands of police during the protests, demonstrators took over the fast-food restaurant where the man was killed. Violence at the demonstration site led to the shooting of eight-year-old Secoriea Turner, whose family blamed Bottoms and other city leaders for allowing “lawlessness, violence, and vigilantism” to overtake parts of the city.
When the Defund the Police movement rocked cities, Bottoms claimed that Atlanta was “ahead of the curve” on “reallocating funds.” The city turned one jail facility into a “center of equity, health, and wellness,” gutting the corrections budget by 60%.
“I think that a very simplified message is ‘defund the police,’ but I think the overarching thing is that people want to see a reallocation of resources into community development and alternatives to just criminalizing … behavior, so I think it’s incumbent upon us to help people articulate that frustration,” Bottoms told one local reporter.
A year later, after she had already decided not to run for a second term, Bottoms touted her support for local law enforcement.
“People say we need to abolish police or defund the police. Well, I don’t know how you do that, unless somebody is going to abolish crime,” she said at the time.
It was too little, too late. Bottoms blamed the spike in crime on Republicans, their pro-freedom COVID policies, and their opposition to gun control while ignoring complaints that she was soft on crime. Erick Erickson gave her the nickname “Keisha Crimewave Bottoms.” Crime became the highest priority for voters and most candidates in the 2021 mayoral election.
The crime wave led to a movement for Atlanta’s wealthiest, most conservative area of Buckhead to secede and spin off into its own municipality. This year, the state legislature scuttled the “Buckxit” movement.
None of this had to happen. Bottoms was a decent mayor until she allowed the woke approach to crime to drive her policies. What’s really sad is that this crime wave, which continues after she has left office, is her legacy of caving to wokeness.