Atlanta police have a tough job in a town that sends mixed messages on public safety.  As a result they, and the residents they serve, pay a heavy price. 

Earlier this year, at 6 p.m. on a warm Easter evening in the Vine City section of Atlanta, as families were relaxing and children were playing in Rodney Cook Sr. Park, gunfire erupted and sent dozens of families scurrying for their lives.  A three-year old girl was grazed by a bullet, but luckily survived.   

Of the 27 homicides in Atlanta to date this year, 10 have occurred in Vine City.   

Just last week, Atlanta cops responded to a 911 call about an armed man in the Capitol View neighborhood — 10 minutes south of Vine City.  When they arrived, they found Claudy Jules wielding a handgun, which he refused to drop.  As an officer tried to subdue Jules a struggle ensued, and three officers were shot and Jules was killed.   

Jules was a convicted felon, and had been charged with gun possession, cruelty to children, assault and battery.   

Why wasn’t Jules in prison instead of on the streets?  How many “second chances” had he been given and by whom?  Why was he allowed to roam the streets of Atlanta, terrorize residents, and shoot police officers?     

Police around the country routinely confront the Jules’s of the streets to protect us.   

As of April 30, the Fraternal Order of Police reported that 136 officers have been shot in the line of duty this year across the country, including 20 who have been killed. High crime rates in inner cities, hostility from left-wing activists in some communities, and severe budget cuts have negatively impacted morale and retention, leaving many departments short-staffed and struggling to ensure public safety. Police departments in many cities around the country are feeling the effects.   

From 2022 to 2023, overall crime rates in Atlanta remained largely unchanged. Homicides and aggravated assaults were down 8% and 9%, respectively, while rape was up 8%, as were burglary (15%), shoplifting (22%), and larceny (14%).  But when you zoom out even a little bit the picture is devasting. Compare crime rates in Atlanta from 2018 to 2023, for example, homicides are up 153% (88 v. 135) and aggravated assaults up 148% (2,693 v. 1,817).   

In other words, the trend line is not good. And as we enter the summer months, crime rates will almost certainly go up. 

Aware that rising crime rates are their political Achilles heel, liberals are now boasting about a recent (and slight) dip in crime rates in blue cities.  What they don’t acknowledge, however, is that those small decreases are dwarfed by the massive spike in crime rates which began in 2018 and remain unacceptably high.  

According to the most recent crime trends report from the Council on Criminal Justice, crime rates rose substantially from 2019 to 2023 across most categories of serious crime.  For example, homicide is up 18%, aggravated assault up 8%, gun assault up 32%, carjacking up 93%, and motor vehicle theft up 105%.   

After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, it was common to thank members of the military, law enforcement and first responders. But a sense of gratitude for those who run towards danger and are willing to risk paying the ultimate price has since dissipated in some segments of society.   

That is regrettable. An ordered society depends on adherence to the rule of law, and public safety does not happen by itself.  It starts with electing prosecutors who enforce the law and seek the maximum sentence for repeat violent offenders like Jules and fully funding police departments.     

Atlanta’s citizens, and especially the city’s leaders, should take a moment and think about how they can support the law enforcement officers who risk their lives daily in the line of duty.  

Charles Stimson is the deputy director of the Heritage Foundation’s Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. Zack Smith is a Senior Legal Fellow.  They are the authors of Rogue Prosecutors: How Radical Soros Lawyers Are Destroying America’s Communities. 


Lost your password?