Buckhead, Atlanta’s wealthiest section, may break away from the city as crime there increases, the Washington Post reported.
Residents of Buckhead are circulating petitions and trying to form a committee that will investigate the area becoming its own municipality to control a growing violent crime problem that has shown an increase in shootings, rapes, and assaults, the Post report said.
“The mayor and the city council have been making bad decisions, so at what point does anyone with a brain say, ‘Enough?’” said Bill White, chairman of the Buckhead Exploratory Committee in the Post article. “If crime is out of control and you are doing nothing about it, you are finished as a city.”
A group known as the Buckhead Exploratory Committee has raised some $600,000 to pursue the issue and has asked the State of Georgia to let residents vote on breaking away.
Crime has risen in the section, some say, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and unrest following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota last year.
The neighborhoods and homes in Buckhead looking to separate are mostly white and affluent compared to the rest of the majority black, and less affluent city, which some other city residents say mirrors the desegregation struggles of the Civil Rights movement.
The area to the north of downtown Atlanta was annexed by the city some 60 years ago and developed into a very desirable part of the city to live in.
The residents, however, now claim they can better protect themselves with control of their tax dollars which now flow into Atlanta and its local government.
Like many law enforcement agencies across the nation, the George Floyd case, and the following unrest has led almost 400 Atlanta Police officers to leave the force, according to the report.
The exodus of police, coupled with the policies of Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who recently announced she would not seek a second term, are blamed for the increasing crime wave hitting the city.
According to the Post’s article, Atlanta already has 54 homicides and more than 250 shootings in 2021, which is a 59 percent increase of homicides compared to last year.
Residents in other parts of the city, however, are not supporting Buckhead’s desire to divorce it.
“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,” Stephanie Flowers, chair of Atlanta Neighborhood Planning Unit V, which oversees a group of neighborhood associations in predominantly Black neighborhoods southwest of downtown, said in the story. “We on the Southside, because of our demographics. We cannot pay our way out of Atlanta. This is just a way to separate the haves from the have-nots.”
According to a story in Atlanta Journal-Constitution that looked at the issue, Buckhead’s almost 90,000 residents would take 20 percent of the city’s population, and because of its wealthier status, a large share of tax revenue going to the city, about 40 percent of the city’s assessed value.
If successful, Buckhead would become Georgia’s 10th largest city, according to the story.
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