The move is the latest of several that the governor and other Republican leaders have made in recent months to address crime in the Atlanta area.
Republicans have jumped on Atlanta’s rise in homicides to make fighting violent crime a cornerstone of their 2022 election strategy up and down the ballot.
Atlanta had a historically deadly 2020, when authorities investigated 157 homicide cases — the most in more than two decades. This year, as of June, homicides had increased in Atlanta by more than 50% and shootings were up by 40% compared with the same time period in 2020.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms recently announced plans to create an office of violence reduction and invest $70 million to develop and implement strategies to address crime. In March, Bottoms said she wants the city to hire 250 more police officers, expand the city’s camera network and license plate reader systems, and add 10,000 more streetlights in the city by Dec. 31.
When asked last week about state lawmakers’ focus on city crime, a spokesman for Bottoms said, “The city of Atlanta is working to identify and use all available resources toward crime reduction, including dedicating $70 million in private and public money needed to fund the city’s crime-fighting plan and the (anti-violence) advisory council’s recommendations.”
In the past few weeks, Kemp has called on the Legislature to pass policies curbing crime during a special legislative session already planned for this fall, House Speaker David Ralston announced his intent to boost criminal justice funding by $75 million next year and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan proposed creation of a $250 million tax credit for Georgians who donate directly to local police departments or sheriff’s offices.
“This additional funding is necessary to keep the streets of Atlanta safe and protect residents and visitors alike,” said Ralston, a Republican from Blue Ridge.