Buckhead is a well-to-do district in Atlanta with around 86,000 residents. It has not been exempt from Atlanta’s crime wave (homicides in Atlanta are up 59 percent from this time last year, when the city ended up with its highest total in two decades). One new Buckhead resident was victimized by break-ins to her vehicles twice within a period of a few weeks. Then, there was a shootout on her street.
In response to this crime surge, some residents and business leaders are pushing for Buckhead to become its own municipality. This would enable residents to use their tax dollars to take effective crime prevention measures, something the city is failing to do.
Indeed, residents have good reason to believe that the city is partly responsible for the crime wave.
The current Atlanta mayor has pushed policies to keep “low-level offenders” out of jail and has eliminated cash bail for some crimes. She illegally fired a police officer who killed a man who had attacked the officer and pointed a taser gun at him.
Naturally, as the Washington Post reports:
Morale in the department plummeted, accelerating retirements and leaving Atlanta with 400 fewer officers than the department’s authorized force of 2,046. According to data collected by the city auditor, 341 officers left the force last year, while the city was able to hire just 116.
The Buckhead Exploratory Committee, which has raised more than $600,000 is asking the state for permission to allow its residents to vote on the issue of forming a municipality. Its chairman says:
The mayor and the city council have been making bad decisions, so at what point does anyone with a brain say, ‘Enough’? If crime is out of control, and you are doing nothing about it, you are finished as a city.
Some Georgia Republicans are backing the effort to detach Buckhead from Atlanta, but Blacks in other parts of Atlanta aren’t amused. (The Post quotes a black Buckhead resident who supports secession because he is tired of hearing gunfire.) Their objection, though, as least as reported by the Post, isn’t that “secession” per se is a bad idea; it’s that their neighborhoods don’t have enough money to escape. Says one resident:
It makes me angry because the crime they are seeing in Buckhead is the same crime we on the Southside have been dealing with for years. We on the Southside, because of our demographics, we can’t pay our way out.
Right. But they could at least stop backing liberal politicians who fail to take measures to curtail crime.
The Post says the movement to detach Buckhead from Atlanta faces an uphill battle. I suspect that’s true. But if crime does not abate, and soon, movements like the one in Buckhead will proliferate and probably become more difficult to resist.