ATLANTA MAYOR PUNTS CRIME FIGHTING TO SECRET COMMITTEE | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

ATLANTA MAYOR PUNTS CRIME FIGHTING TO SECRET COMMITTEE

SOURCE: THE INTERCEPT
Atlanta is engaged in a very public argument about how to fight rising crime. The mayor’s approach is to barricade the doors to the public and deliberate in secret.
The “Anti-Violence Advisory Council” named last week by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has been structured to evade Georgia’s strict Open Meetings Act rules for public observation. The only people who heard Bottoms address the 13-person working group on Wednesday were hand-picked members and city staff.

Bottoms has relied on similar working groups in the past, like one convened in the wake of protests last summer. Some of the recommendations of that group later became city policy. Former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates is the highest profile member of the group, which also includes UPS CEO Carol Tomé, a juvenile judge, a retired police chief, city council members, and community activists.

Members speaking about Wednesday’s meeting said on background that the mayor addressed the group briefly, then the group dove into a discussion of the problem and an overview of crime statistics led by the city’s police chief, Rodney Bryant. An intense question-and-answer session followed with a focus on youth crime and gang crime.

Bottoms announced that she would not be running for reelection earlier this month, an astonishing concession widely attributed to the challenge of running during a record-setting crime wave. Homicides have increased 85 percent year over year as of two weeks ago: 52 deaths since the start of the year, with six killings since Friday alone. Violence has been particularly lethal; aggravated assaults have also increased, but only by about 25 percent, while gun violence has increased more than 50 percent.

State government has begun to intervene. At the end of the legislative session two months ago, Georgia House Speaker David Ralston announced a study committee on Atlanta crime, holding out the possibility that the state police would take over the city’s public safety. The legislature also passed legislation prohibiting large municipalities — looking at you, Atlanta — from defunding the police by capping reductions in police spending to a maximum of 5 percent per year. Of late, the Georgia State Patrol has been working with the Atlanta Police Department and others to crack down on street racing, reversing city policies against car chases in the process.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Mayor Bottoms seems to be doing a magnificent job of both misdirection, and in looking in absolutely all the wrong places for answers.

Mike and I live in a tiny enclave in rural Southern Indiana, where there is statistically no crime. I don't think this is an accident of demographics.

I know that I am going to catch flack for saying this, but what I do see here are stable families that provide love and structure to their kids.

And when families cannot provide this,those at-risk kids need programs which can provide at least some of this; Mayor Bottoms needs to be turning to her educators, and leaders of her faith communities, for better answers as to how to fight crime.

When kids have good mentors around them, who engage them emotionally; artistically; intellectually; and spiritually, those kids are more likely to avoid behaviours which can cause them to hurt someone, and land them in prison.

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