How big an issue should crime be in the Atlanta Mayor’s race?

As Thomas Wheatley points out, there are differing opinions about whether crime is up or down in the city. There’s also disagreement about just how many officers are on the streets fighting crime. Clearly Atlanta’s budget woes will be a big campaign issue, but shouldn’t crime be right up at the top of the list as well? I hope so, because it’s not clear to me that Chief Pennington has made any headway.

“Crime has been dramatically reduced and there are more officers on our streets than ever before,” Pennington wrote. “Since 1990 the number of violent crimes in Atlanta has decreased from 75,793 in that one year to 43,828 currently.”

According to the most recent data from APD Zones 5 and 6, which include Midtown, Poncey-Highland and surrounding neighborhoods, crime is actually down compared to last year.

But residents of intown Atlanta say those statements and statistics don’t mesh with reality. Violent crime, they say, has grown more frequent and brazen, a worrisome trend at a time when the department is actually scaling back officers to offset the city’s $70 million budget shortfall.

Scott Kreher, the Atlanta police union president, disagrees with Pennington’s portrait of the APD, particularly the chief’s statement that there are more patrol officers now than ever.

Kreher says Pennington’s claim that there are 1,781 officers patrolling the community includes support staff, detectives and officers stationed at the airport – in other words, cops who aren’t working the streets.

What’s more, the Atlanta police force – which has been stretched thin in recent years – is being stretched even thinner. Last week, the city announced officers would have to take an extra unpaid day off every two weeks.

At a press conference, Deputy Chief George Turner acknowledged that the changes will cause some shortages in services, but said the department would diligently work to offset those shortages.

Kreher says the cut is yet another misstep by the city – one that will weaken morale and hinder the force’s ability to retain experienced officers. In the short term, it will mean 150 fewer badges patrolling the streets every day.

53 comments

  1. There are different opinions.

    Honest people, backed by relevant statistics, say crime is up.

    Ineffective, lying Atlanta Police Chiefs say crime is down.

    I posted some stats in the comments section of Thomas’s story.

  2. Icarus says:

    Crime stats have been manipulated by the City of Atlanta for decades. I once had a car broken into (as did approx 20 others) in a midtown parking garage. Was told by the APD operator after waiting more than an hour for a cop to write it up that they were too busy, and I needed to drive to the downtown HQ if I wanted to file a police report. Most of the car owners had already left by that time, so at least 15 or so of the crimes went unreported. That was under Maynard II. No report, no crime.

    Anecdotaly, seems to be up across most categories. There appear to be a lot more violent, brazen crimes in “good” areas like this morning’s murder at the Standard. But the more mundane appears to be up too. Friends of mine in Grant Park/East Atlanta have had their house broken in, truck stolen, and car broken into in three separate incidents over a 2 month period.

    Atl PD can provide all the “stats” they want, but perception is reality in this area, and the perception isn’t good.

  3. Icarus says:

    I got a facebook invite to a vigil (originally termed a protest, but changed at the request of The Standard) tomorrow from 7-9pm at The Standard on Memorial Drive from SpaceyG.

    Details as follows:

    In honor of John Henderson and every other victim of the rising violent crime:

    Southeast Atlanta Residents to Protest Rising Crime Rates at Site of Robbery and Murder
    (http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/atlanta/stories/2009/01/07/standard_bar_shooting.html?cxntlid=homepage_tab_newstab)

    Atlanta, GA, January 8, 2009 – Due to the January 7 Murder and Robbery at Grant Park bar, Standard Food and Spirits, residents of Southeast Atlanta have united to protest cuts in police protection and public safety. January 8, 2009, concerned citizens should meet at 7:00am at The Standard to remember the victims of crimes city-wide and to voice our concerns. Participants are encouraged to bring candles to light.

    UPDATE:

    It is The Standard’s wishes for this to be a vigil and to keep any form of protest to a minimum.

    What this means:

    DO Show up!
    DO bring candles
    DO spread the word about this event

    DO NOT bring signs or placards, chants or slogans.

    There will be television coverage of this event which will allow you to voice your frustration and safety concerns with the reporters, however lets obey The Standard’s wishes at this time.

    There will be future protests/marches to allow us to voice our frustration (stay tuned!).

  4. candlerpark says:

    Icarus & Andisheh have it exactly right. Crime has been exploding in the city- Ask anyone in Kirkwood, Eastlake, East Atlanta, Cabbagetown etc . . . . All the while Mary Morwood sends out her stupid little emails asking about whether infill development or code enforcement are the biggest problems in our city.

  5. Romegaguy says:

    The problem with the area around the Standard is those telephone polls that jump in front of elected officials and judges

  6. Icarus says:

    http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/atlanta/stories/2009/01/07/standard_bar_shooting.html

    “We have to get this city safe,” Atlanta city councilwoman Mary Norwood told reporters. “This is unacceptable. The idea that we have a city where this kind of violence can happen is completely unacceptable. You can’t have a city that’s safe in some places and not in others.”

    Norwood suggested that city budget cuts and furloughs in public safety have diminished safety, and she blamed Mayor Shirley Franklin’s administration for the way cuts have been made.

    “What we have seen is cuts made without consultation and collaboration,” she said, adding that police proposals for cost-cuts have not been implemented.

  7. jenny says:

    Should we make any references to the 35,000 children murdered every year in Atlanta? Or perhaps something about the child prostitution in Atlanta.

    At least we are #1 in America for something. We can’t educate kids but we can find other uses for them.

    Don’t get me wrong. I am heart broken about everyone’s stolen car. I’m wiping away a tear right now as we speak. But I don’t know–butchered babies and raped children just pull a little harder at my heart strings.

  8. jenny says:

    I think one should reflect upon the general impact on the inner city when abortion mills dot the landscape, and extinguishing life in the womb become a normal part of daily life.

    The general erosion of the sanctity of human life, the lack of consequence for actions, the complete disregard for man made law which sanctions the murder of the unborn, create an environment where violence thrives.

    Consider that 85% of men in prison for murder between the ages of 18 and 25, murdered their mother’s abuser.

    Not that taking your woman to get the seed ripped out of her uterus that you planted there, in any way devalues her in your eyes.

    Oh, and did I mention that post-abortive women are much more likely to get involved with drug and alcohol abuse?

  9. atlantaman says:

    “Should we make any references to the 35,000 children murdered every year in Atlanta? ”

    According to Census data city of Atlanta has approximately 486,411 people with 1/2 being women. So now you’re talking about 243,206 women. 9.7% are over 65 and 22.3% are under 18 (I realize that some children under 18 are having babies, but not too much younger).

    My point is you only have a certain number of people in the city of Atlanta who are physically eligible to pregnant at any given moment. 35,000 seems to be a very large for the number of abortions every year.

  10. Icarus says:

    Does anyone else think it will ever occur to Jenny that her off topic thread jacks have the unique ability to make me, a pro-life conservative, wish that I could get pregnant just so I could have an abortion in order to piss her off?

    I’m thinking not, but then again, I’m pro-Monsanto.

  11. Doug Deal says:

    Are you guys sure she isn’t just Spacey in conservative drag?

    I get the same headache reading her stuff as I did Spacey’s, so it makes me wonder.

  12. Icarus says:

    No, two different people.

    Both real. Both make public appearances.

    Whether you liked Spacey’s stuff or not, at least she didn’t threadjack every freaking thread.

    And to the best of my knowledge, Spacey can sleep soundly at night despite the fact that both Icarus and Monsanto are doing their best to spread seed wherever possible.

  13. Bill Simon says:

    Jenny,

    The general erosion of the sanctity of human life, the lack of consequence for actions, the complete disregard for man made law which sanctions the murder of the unborn, create an environment where violence thrives..

    Do you know what this is? You should…you identified it on another thread. This is called an enthymeme.

    Two things happen on separate courses and YOU, with no proof of anything, cite that one caused the other.

    Please…go back to your homeschooling coursework and re-take Logic, Inference, & Implication.

  14. jenny says:

    Wow, I got a lot of bold text on that one. Glad to finally be riling you people up. And you claimed indifference and ennui. LOL.

    Far be it for me to be the voice of reason to all of you wise politicos.

    Logic-yeah, my comments were so off base and had nothing to do with criminal activities and violence. Uh, huh.

    I think I shall delve back into logic. It will be refreshing to read some in a textbook since clearly I won’t be reading much here.

  15. Icarus says:

    A logical person would realize if you can’t seem to protect the lives of the born, you might be starting at the wrong end of the spectrum if you believe the proper solution is to create new laws to protect the unborn.

    And just because you got Bill to engage with bold text doesn’t mean the rest of us care for unrelated thread jacks.

    If you want your own discussion thread on this topic, I’ll post it for you, on the condition that you stay on topic within the other posts.

  16. Bucky Plyler says:

    Hang in there Jenny. I believe what you do about abortion. Not many people believe that abortion is manslaughter or murder on PP because abortion is the law of the land.

    That’s why everybody else can jump off thread on most of the PP issues & everybody is fine with it.

  17. jenny says:

    Icarus,

    I do think that it was pertinent to this thread, but I won’t elaborate on why at this point.

    Yes, I would appreciate it if you posted a discussion thread for me, and I’ll stay on topic within other posts. How shall I send it to you?

    I’d be interested in posting a thread on NAIS, too, and also genetically modified food. 🙂 I can rant about lots of different things.

  18. rugby fan says:

    “Not many people believe that abortion is manslaughter or murder on PP because abortion is the law of the land.”

    And “murder” and “manslaughter” are legally defined. So if X is ruled to be legal, then it could not be manslaughter or murder.

  19. Icarus says:

    O.K,

    First of all, despite the liberties we take around here during the off-season, this is a blog about GEORGIA politics. I would keep that in mind before going off on genetically modifed food, NAIS, the Nazis, or whatever.

    The session is getting ready to ramp up. Likewise, our focus will be drawing back. Totally coincedental that college football is done tonight.

    So, I can either put up Jenny’s thread, and let you fill in whatever in the comments, or if you want to put up a post of your own composition, put it on the tipline and I’ll post it as long as the subject matter, once again and I repeat, is specifically about GEORGIA politics.

  20. Doug Deal says:

    Icky,

    I know they are different people, it was just the brain seering pain they invoke is so similar. Not wanting to give aid to the threadjack, I will leave it at that.

  21. jenny says:

    Well, I am glad this is about politics. That’s why I’m here. And as a lobbyist in Georgia, I’m pulling together a team from the Libertarian, Constitutional, Democratic, Republican and Campaign for Liberty parties, along with the Ga. SCLC and Ga. NAACP to pass legislation that advances life and liberty. The bills that we are working on are in regard to Constitutional currency, NAIS, Genetically Modified Food, Prenatal Murder, and Sustainable Agriculture.

    I’m not interested in pontificating on general nonsense that doesn’t impact Georgia. I am here because I assume that this blog site affects public opinion, and influences the GOP Leadership.

    I would be honored to be able to post, and I would keep it factual and to the point, and to the politics.

  22. jenny says:

    Enthymemes central, baby.

    All these warm fuzzies from you Bill. Must mean one of two things (which could present a false bifurcation), it’s either my amazing winsome personality and my fabulous post six kids body, or I’m pissing off someone you can’t stand.

    More likely the latter. Glad to be of use.

  23. Bill Simon says:

    Jenny,

    Several things, actually:

    1) You have some off-the-beaten path issues you care about, but you do not act like the MANY Christian activists that have come before you in this arena in terms of lying or getting down to personal threats about someone being “anti-Christian” if they do not agree with you.

    2) You are friends with two good friends of mine, Sam and Jason.

    3) You and I both have INTJ personality types, so we are, in that way, a bit of kindred spirits (though on WAY opposite sides of most of your issues).

    4) And, yes, because of your winsome personality and fabulous body….but, don’t think either of those will stop me from challenging you on your extreme stances and statements of illogic absurdity.

  24. Yes, Libertarian.

    You should know that all libertarians are pro “Life”… the point of contention is when does Life begin?. For some libertarians, it’s birth. Some believe it’s conception and others believe it’s somewhere in between. But one thing is for sure… libertarians will fight for the rights of all the living. Therefore, it doesn’t surprise me that some libertarians work with Jenny. However, most libertarians stay away from the issue. They realize the complexity and that if you believe life begins before birth, it is a unique situation where you have conflicting rights. This is why I see more work by libertarians towards figuring out and supporting ways for all to avoid unwanted pregnancies in the first place… which might explain why Icarus is having a tough time finding a “good wingman.”

  25. Icarus says:

    I think it really has more to do with the fact that my last wingman was a narcoleptic, and fell off a barstool while asleep – twice – the last time I was on the dance floor.

  26. Icarus says:

    It wasn’t my last dance, but I did have a similar experience at a club in south dekalb once. Good times. Good times.

  27. Ic,
    When you start doing interviews let me know. I don’t have a lot of spare time but, I do drink a lot of coffee. Also, being a libertarian, I believe what you do with your “enthymeme” is your business as long as you don’t use the force of government to make me pay for it.

  28. Icarus says:

    Posting from a blackberry, it’s easy to forget what thread you are posting on when you are just jumping thru recent comments. That’s one of the reasons threadjacks about the same subject on 10 different threads mess the whole site up (AND YES, I’M TALKING TO YOU JENNY).

    So now back in the office, and we’re on the thread talking about violent crime increasing in Atlanta and a 26 year old bartender being executed as he shut his restaurant down, and somehow, we’re now talking about my wingmen and Jenny’s enthymeme.

    Session’s about to start, and this place has to straighten up.

    So I might need to hire an assisstant, as well as change my name to Icarus Van Wilder

    Anyone that wants to continue discussing crime, please continue here.

    Anyone that wants to dig deeper into other surreal items, might as well go here:

    http://www.peachpundit.com/2009/01/05/the-plight-of-kiki-and-bambi-reaches-across-the-aisle-as-a-prominent-democrat-praises-adult-entertainment-to-provide-stiff-fiscal-stimulus-in-effort-to-lift-an-old-and-tired-downtown/

  29. Icarus says:

    I have a Blackberry Pearl, I think (Small one, weird keyboard with 2 letters per key. FYI, that should explain a lot of the typos and the occasional word that just doesn’t fit).

    I have a data pack that allows internet access. I go to this site like normal, log in, and post.

    It just takes a lot longer to read, as well as since some updates here a couple of weekends ago, I now have to reload the same page twice to get all comments plus the “recent commnets”. But it will do in a pinch, and helps to kill time when on the road between meetings.

  30. Sorry Icarus,

    I promise to try to stay on subject or at least not shy too far off during the session.

    As for this thread and your comment: So now back in the office, and we’re on the thread talking about violent crime increasing in Atlanta and a 26 year old bartender being executed as he shut his restaurant down, and somehow, we’re now talking about my wingmen and Jenny’s enthymeme.

    Ever laughed at a funeral?… sort of make things normal and somehow therapeautic.

    It’s 5pm here, now. So, go have a drink and a great weekend. And RELAX! It’s all good.

  31. Icarus says:

    Wasn’t blasting you Daniel. Just illustrates what happens when threadjacks occur.

    But yes, I have laughed at funerals, and I hope people will be laughing at mine. I also hope it’s not any time soon, so I can have the pleasure of laughing a few peoples’ funerals that continue to piss me off.

    We can discuss interview requirements on the thread linked above. Please have a resume available and references.

  32. jenny says:

    Icarus, when you talk to me in uppercase letters, would you also make it bold type? That gives me the most warm fuzzies. 🙂

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