In making the public safety recommendations, the group would work to get buy-in from businesses, neighborhood associations, residents in apartments and condos and other stakeholders like churches and nonprofits, Norwood said.
Norwood, who has served three terms as a citywide councilwoman and ran unsuccessfully for mayor twice, was elected without opposition in November to represent the western half of Buckhead for the next four years. Once the task force is up and running, she said, she hopes to see action within 90 days.
The group was given the green light by a vote of 14-1, with freshman Councilman Antonio Lewis the sole opposing vote. He questioned whether Buckhead “should be an area to focus additional public safety efforts,” saying other parts of the city would feel left out.
“This is something we should do citywide,” he said.
The Southern Center for Human Rights sent a letter to councilmembers before the meeting urging them to vote against the creation of the task force. The letter argued Buckhead has already received a disproportionate share of public safety resources in the last year.
“The data make clear that this is not the time to devote additional resources to one part of the city that already has some of the lowest incidents of crimes considered most serious. Likewise, the data show that Atlanta is not experiencing a ‘crime wave’ that is out of control,” the Southern Center wrote, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Later on in the meeting, citywide Councilwoman Keisha Waites introduced legislation to expand the city’s Public Safety Commission, which was created last year and tasked with making recommendations to reduce crime.
She sought to pass the measure on immediate consideration, meaning it would bypass the council’s normal two-week committee process. That effort failed on a narrow 8-7 vote, and Waites’ item was referred to the public safety committee.