A wealthy Atlanta neighborhood wants to leave the city amid a wave of violent crime and alleged lack of police support.
Buckhead City Committee CEO Bill White told Fox News on Thursday that crime is on the rise in Atlanta, allegedly due to Democratic Mayor Keisha Bottoms’ policies, which include eliminating cash bail for certain minor offenses and policies that keep low-level offenders out of overcrowded jails. “We filed our divorce papers at the city of Atlanta, and our divorce is final,” White said.
White went on to claim that the Atlanta Police Department is underfunded, which contributes to the crime. “They feel demonized, underpaid, under-recognized. They are being told basically not to fight crime in the way they would like to,” he explained.
Dozens of officers left the force throughout 2020 citing lack of support, with 28 officers resigning in August alone, 11 Alive reported.
“Majority of it is just the lack of support,” President of the International Brotherhood of Police Officer, Local 623, Sgt. Jason Segura said, according to the report. “You have officers that have been trained by the Academy as far as what you can and can’t do, what the law is, what your SOPs are, and when it comes down to it … So, it’s just a lot of confusion.”
White told host Bill Hemmer that he assumed approximately 80% of his community will approve the separation, noting the “two bills in the Georgia legislature” will be “dropping in January to decide this referendum ballot.”
Regina, a Buckhead resident who kept her last name private out of safety concerns, told CNN recently she’s “lost all faith” in the city. “We’re too far gone for the city of Atlanta to help us at this point,” she reportedly said. (RELATED: City Councilman Who Voted To Withhold Funds From The Police Has Car Stolen By Kids In Broad Daylight)
‘Buckhead City’ would have its own its own court, jail and police system, White told Hemmer. “We are going to put the smackdown on this crime once and for all here, because the people of Buckhead have had enough.”
“A new Buckhead City will do a much better job and will work very well with Atlanta. We’re going to help Atlanta. We’re going to be two strong cities, prosperous and safe, we pray,” he continued.
Buckhead, which was once a safe community, has seen a 52% increase in aggravated assaults in 2021, according to 11 Alive. Meanwhile, homicides in Atlanta spiked with a 58% change during the month of May when compared to the same time last year, according to police data.
The group also cites poor infrastructure, zoning issues and taxes as reasons for the separation. “Buckhead gets very little return on investment for the amount of taxes that we pay to the City of Atlanta,” the group said on their website. “Simple city services are deteriorating with no plan from Atlanta’s leaders to address them.”
However, some Atlanta residents are offended by the possible separation, according to The Washington Post. “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,” chair of Atlanta Neighborhood Planning Unit V Stephanie Flowers reportedly said. “We on the Southside, because of our demographics. We can’t pay our way out [of Atlanta]. This is just a way to separate the haves from the have-nots.”