Andrew Worrell walked out the door of his Buckhead home on a sunny June morning for a run on leafy West Wesley Road. Minutes later, he was lying on the street, shot in broad daylight by a stranger who, before he was apprehended, went on to shoot another jogger, then ram his vehicle into a third person whose injuries required the amputation of both legs. This story is not an outlier; it’s part of an increasingly familiar milieu of criminal violence in the North Atlanta community of Buckhead.

Bill White

We say we are living in a war zone, and we mean it.

Crime is up nationwide, of course, but the Buckhead community is unique. Homicides in Atlanta have increased 63 percent over last year, but they have increased a staggering 148 percent since 2019. Shootings are up 164 percent since 2019 in the once placid neighborhoods of Buckhead. People are starting to vote with their feet. Residents and businesses are heading for the exits. One major law firm recently was considering relocating to Buckhead. No more. They surveyed the shocking jump in shootings, car jackings, burglaries, mall assaults, and killings, and crossed Buckhead off their list taking over 400 jobs with them. Take a look at West Paces Ferry Road. Over 40 acres are suddenly up for sale. Are people moving from that storied Buckhead thoroughfare because of potholes, infrequent trash collections and zoning threats? No, they’ve endured such figurative assaults for years. They’re moving now because of crime. Plain and simple.

The Atlanta police stopped arresting shoplifters long ago. The City of Atlanta recently announced that police will no longer even be responding to shoplifting calls. Atlanta police also have been instructed to refrain from car chases of violent criminals, apparently for fear of possible lawsuits. So if you are a retailer in Buckhead, or if you own a gas station or a dry cleaner or a hair salon, you have the choice of either hiring private security or falling prey to criminals emboldened by a city government run amok and a badly demoralized and understaffed police force. Response times in the City of Atlanta and in Buckhead for even emergency police and heart attack calls is at an all-time high. Atlanta City Council member Antonio Brown recently was carjacked at midday. It took officers nearly 45 minutes to reach him. What to do?

Councilman J.P. Matzigkeit favors raising private money to supply security services for which Buckhead residents already pay in taxes. For years, Atlanta city government, our elected officials and the Buckhead Coalition (half of whom do not even live in Buckhead) have told us to be patient. They understand the problem, they said. They had solutions, they said. We should work together, they said. We will make your neighborhoods safe, they said. All the while The Buckhead Coalition (an invite-only club of members who pay $9,000 in annual dues) simply pushes more private security.

The most recent proposal dreamed up in partnership with the City of Atlanta — bicycle patrols for shopping centers — is woefully inadequate. And what good are more cameras and license plate readers when police have instructions to not chase criminals? Felons who pop up on license place readers are most certainly chased and arrested in Brookhaven or Sandy Springs, but not in Atlanta and not in Buckhead.

Plus, we all know from experience that a “new” Kasim Reed Atlanta mayoral administration will do nothing to ameliorate the problems of Buckhead. Many in APD ranks say that should he become mayor again many resignations will take place since they do not trust him to support these amazing police and their families.

In order to fulfill our constitutionally-guaranteed right to self-determination, the area now known as Buckhead City demands a transparent and public vote NOW of its citizens on whether to stay in the City of Atlanta or create a new municipal government which will be able to serve and protect our residents and businesses.

We view attempts to delay, obstruct, or stop our beloved Buckhead citizens from exercising our sacred right to self-determination as a direct assault on our freedoms as Americans. We have thrice polled the legally registered voters in Buckhead, who are the only ones who will vote on our Buckhead City referendum– and three times over 70 percent say they would vote yes to create Buckhead City. We’ve got this!

LET US VOTE NOVEMBER 2022 – @BuckheadCityGA NOW!

Bill White is the Chairman & CEO of the Buckhead City Committee (www.BECnow.com), formerly the Buckhead Exploratory Committee.

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