Atlanta, We Have A Crime Problem

So, if a guy who will shoot and kill an innocent victim in the course of an armed robbery is granted bond, just what do you have to do in this city to be kept behind bars?

I guess I have been hoping that our fair city of Atlanta will turn things around. I have sat back and watched as crime rises. More break-ins. More robberies. More bullshit every time I turn around. Every time I talk to someone, there is another story of crime. It seemed for a while that a lot of it was taking place in my neighborhood, East Atlanta, and because I love my neighborhood and want its businesses to continue to thrive and draw people in, I refrained from blogging about the fact that many residents are scared to walk home from bars anymore, or that I myself refuse to walk to my car by myself in the village after dark, or that a chunk of residents only half-jokingly have discussed forming the East Atlanta Gun Club. I kid you not. I decided that maybe it wouldn’t be the end of the world if criminals found out that criminals aren’t the only ones in my hood who are packing; There are some good guys with guns, too.

Turns out that it isn’t just East Atlanta, or southeast Atlanta, but all over the city and in unincorporated Dekalb. I don’t know what the problem is: Obviously we need more funding for law enforcement in Fulton, Dekalb, and City of Atlanta. Law enforcement seems sorely understaffed and overwhelmed. It seems like criminals are arrested and then back on the streets in no time.

I know one thing: The message sent by Fulton County Superior Court Judge T. Bedford Jackson, when he granted bond to Terry Williams’ accused murderer, is not helping matters. What the fuck does it say to a would-be criminal when they know that you can shoot someone in the face and kill them, and it’ll only cost you about $10,000 bail?

Judge Jackson should be ashamed of himself. I know I am ashamed that he represents the people of Atlanta and Fulton County. I am outraged. When are the people of Atlanta going to stand up and hold the people they elect and hire to a standard of decency and safety that we can live with? At this rate, we are going to be known (more) for our thug culture, and we are going to start losing business and jobs.

It’s just embarrassing and sickening.

p.s. Big shout out to Andisheh at CL, who keeps doing a great job reporting on our city.

Update: Please voice your displeasure with Judge Jackson’s ruling:

12 Comments so far

  1. Mary (unregistered) on December 31st, 2007 @ 11:01 pm

    Why hasn’t the AJC covered this story at all???

  2. drew (unregistered) on January 2nd, 2008 @ 7:15 am

    This is the first I’ve heard of this story, but it’s hardly surprising, and your comments about the state of security in East Atlanta ring familiar, as a good friend of mine who keeps in touch with her old neighbors in Ormewood reports a similar story: increased crime, reduced sense of security.

    Now, this could simply be a plateau in the gentrification of the neighborhoods associated with East Atlanta. It’s possible that it could be related to the weakened housing market, to a sluggish economy, to any number of a wide range of variables… but you’d be remiss if you didn’t take into consideration the fact that the neighborhoods associated with East Atlanta are a small incursion into a fairly *large* region of low income… if you’re keen on metaphors you could say that it’s the “green zone” to southside Atlanta’s “Baghdad”.

    White collar folks who buy homes in these neighborhoods must realize that they’re not moving into Roswell…. they’re moving into a slender pocket of wannabe suburbia surrounded by people leading a hardscrabble existence. Just because someone builds a mega-development in the ‘hood doesn’t turn it into Buckhead.

    I sure hope things get better fast. How politically active are the residents there? It’s not exactly the same thing, but the history of the Midtown Alliance could provide some cues on how to ensure that the area is still improving 20 years from now.

  3. Tim (unregistered) on January 2nd, 2008 @ 1:19 pm

    Yes I concur
    i live in unincorp. dekalb just east of EAV and
    its like chain all your junk together or its gonna get stolen after 2 break-ins at my home it was time to get a Glockhow ever that didnt stop some guy I kid you not from stealing my trash cans!!! early on a sundy morning while i slept
    i just wok up in timie to see him pulling out of the drive way. I guess it shows just how smart some of these residents are around here. “You mean the guy got shot in that guys driveway for trying to steal what?”
    ” Oh well i guess after the guys house got broken into that many times he must have felt like he might have gone into the basement again,
    damn i love that Castle Law!!!!”

    Get The Drop On Them….

  4. Annie (unregistered) on January 3rd, 2008 @ 11:02 am

    Agreed, Drew, but if you look at crime stats, this is not just in southeast Atlanta – crime has increased in other parts of intown Atlanta also.

    Many residents in the area are politically active, and I don’t think that anyone thought they were moving to Roswell. I also don’t think many people will pull up and move to the burbs – People seem to feel strongly about doing what it takes to turn the neighborhoods down here around.

    Mary, concerning the bond of this creep who (allegedly, but with witnesses) murdered the Yacht Club owner: I cannot figure out why there has not been more coverage and more public outcry. I do hope that others will speak out about this. It is shameful and a sad state of affairs.

  5. Mary (unregistered) on January 3rd, 2008 @ 7:52 pm

    Annie, I actually emailed the AJC about this issue a few days ago and received a prompt response from editor Angela Tuck who told me she would look into it. No word yet, but hopefully it will let them know that people are paying attention and would like to see some coverage.

  6. Annie (unregistered) on January 4th, 2008 @ 9:27 am

    Great job, Mary! I would love to hear what they come up with – If I don’t post a followup, and you see more on this story, please post it in our suggestions.

  7. Rashid Z. Muhammad (unregistered) on January 4th, 2008 @ 9:16 pm

    This is messed up for sure but, in the context of pinning it to a perceived increase in crime, this data point is meaningless by itself. Are you suggesting that there is some ambivalence being exhibited toward crime that wasn’t there before?

    The DA suggests this but, again, if it is supposed to have a causal relationship with a rising crime rate we need to see trends over time and differentials with other jurisdictions. Also, any evidence pointing to further deviant behavior by those out on bail would help as well.

    If Howard’s side had things their way, everybody (regardless of how flimsy the evidence, and I see nothing saying that there is an open shut case here) would be detained indefinitely but, thankfully, that’s not how the legal system works. At least for non “Terrorists.” There is clearly a set of standards that have to be met in order for the accused to be held without bond and if the judge somehow violated those standards he should be disciplined, otherwise we are being capricious which is the antithesis of what our system strives to be.

    What the system is would be another conversation…

  8. Annie (unregistered) on January 4th, 2008 @ 11:19 pm

    Agreed, Rashid – Great comments, as usual. That being said, I still maintain that it is completely fucked up that someone saw this guy shoot someone in the face, killing them, and the guy was given bond.

    I understand your argument, but my heart and gut do not. They say that what happened was not right, and I usually go with what they say, as my head is less than reliable. :-)

    I’m a blogger, not a journalist, and I think that excuses the emotion I exhibit concerning the matter.

  9. drew (unregistered) on January 5th, 2008 @ 12:30 am

    I keep checking back on this thread and listening up for further information on the shoot and release program. I hope that this gets proper coverage without casting a pall on the development in the area, that was never the intention of my first post.

    BTW, Annie, I live OTP on the southside… and *my* car was recently broken into… so that crime isn’t just in the L5P/EAV corridor~ :(

    I suppose the thing that I find fascinating (in the same way that I find watching political Sunday morning chat shows fascinating (honestly)) is the migration of certain people away from EAV because it didn’t retain the “spanking new and utterly hip” cachet that it had five or six years ago when everything was booming and the village was full of hip new shops and restaurants.

    As you say, it’s totally a difference in ‘vision’ for the area… the long-termers versus the short-termers. Plus, the people who’ve been there awhile were younger when they bought in. They were blithely unaware of the realities of the security they needed to consider.

    We become more cautious when we get older; more cautious. And yeah, a whole lot of residents of EAV will continue to love it, but they’ll likely be very up to speed on the dangers to avoid.

    Like Judge Jackson. :/

  10. Rashid Z. Muhammad (unregistered) on January 5th, 2008 @ 10:26 pm


    I completely understand where you’re coming from and don’t disagree with your visceral reaction, I just wanted to add a little perspective.

  11. eddieP (unregistered) on January 7th, 2008 @ 5:59 pm

    a litte off topic but…
    i live in grant park and we have been experiencing many break-ins that really started back when school began. apparently many of the kids who go to south side high school would rather skip school and go around the neighborhood randomly stealing stuff. they actually hit my house and took a bunch of electronic items which i was lucky enough to recover BUT only because of a vigilant neighbors efforts. it is my understanding that one of the kids was caught but will probably not see any jail time b/c as i am learning – fulton county is terrible with actually getting these kids to pay for what they have done. the inspector on my case actually said the best way to prevent these crimes is to either get a mean dog or buy a 9mm or both. terrific.

  12. Annie (unregistered) on January 7th, 2008 @ 7:51 pm

    Thanks for the comments, Eddie – Glad you got your stuff back, too. I am no expert, but evidently, for juveniles, there is some kind of point system that determines their punishment and it ends up that they don’t really ever get any.

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