Atlanta Mayor meets with business leaders to talk public safety

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms listens to a speaker during a groundbreaking celebration for the Haven in South Atlanta apartment complex development in the South Atlanta community of Atlanta, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)
Caption
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms listens to a speaker during a groundbreaking celebration for the Haven in South Atlanta apartment complex development in the South Atlanta community of Atlanta, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer/Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Friday that “public safety remains the top discussion area and priority,” after convening with several leaders of metro Atlanta’s businesses and universities.

Bottoms spoke to reporters after her meeting with The Atlanta Committee for Progress, a partnership between the mayor and the city’s top business, civic and academic leaders to support positive change.

The mayor also said she debriefed the executives on her hopes to reopen city buildings to the public by August as they “turn the corner” on the coronavirus pandemic.

But crime was the main point discussed among the leadership, especially amid the Buckhead cityhood movement.

Bottoms said she received “broad support” from the business community “in being opposed to that idea.”

“We can best harness our efforts together to make sure that we’re putting energy into addressing this issue and not on a fool’s errand to create something that will not address the challenges that we are facing as a city as a whole,” Bottoms said.

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The mayor, who announced last month that she is not seeking reelection this year, said it is “ill advised” for her successor to not maintain a relationship with the Committee for Progress. Committee chair Alex Taylor said the group will work with the next mayor, but it does not plan to endorse any candidates.

Taylor is the Cox Enterprises president and chief executive officer. Cox Enterprises owns The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Bottoms said homicides are up roughly 50% compared to 2019. She cautioned against comparing this year’s homicide rate to last year, which she called “an outlier” amid the “COVID crime wave” nationwide.

ExploreAtlanta homicides are up nearly 60 percent from 2020

The mayor created an Anti-Violence Advisory Council last month to develop ideas that will help reduce violent crime in Atlanta. The mayor said she’s “very intentional about not interfering” with the group’s work, and she’s waiting to “receive the recommendations at the same time that everyone else receives them.”

Atlanta City Council is forming a separate working group to address violent crime. Bottoms said that group’s ideas “won’t be binding on the administration,” but she’s looking forward to hearing from the council’s group in hopes that it will produce recommendations that the administration hasn’t considered.

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