Like many cities across the U.S., Atlanta has found itself in the middle of a massive crime wave. In fact, it has gotten so bad that Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) isn't even bothering to run for re-election, knowing that the crime wave could doom her chances.
The spikes in crime that urban areas are seeing came as cries to get rid of police grew louder.
One of the men running to replace her — and who voted to defund the police — got a taste of the ATL's crime problem this week when his car was stolen by a group of children in broad daylight.
Mayor Bottoms announced in early May that she would not seek re-election in the wake of what she previously labeled the "Covid crime wave," the New York Times reported, adding that her "inability to get a handle on crime" has been a major theme for her potential replacements.
According to the Times, Atlanta crime, which was up significantly in 2020, is still spiking: "In Atlanta, crime has continued raging into 2021. In the first 18 weeks of the year, police statistics show homicides up 57 percent, rapes up 55 percent, aggravated assaults up 36 percent and auto thefts up 31 percent compared with the same period last year."
WAGA-TV reported that Atlanta City Councilman and mayoral candidate Antonio Brown — who voted to withhold tens of millions of dollars in funding for the Atlanta Police Department — became one of the city's latest crime victims at about noon Wednesday while he was visiting members in his Dixie Hills community in northwest Atlanta.
He hopped out of his white Mercedes to speak to a community leader when he noticed a group of four or five kids no older than 11 or 12 years — with one of them appearing to be as young as 6 years — walking around a store. Just a few seconds later, as Brown stood only three or four feet from the car, they jumped into his vehicle and took off, WAGA said.
The councilman and fellow community leader Ben Norman attempted to get the kids out of the car, eventually the one child who was in the driver's seat — who also fought off Brown and Norman — hit the gas and they were gone. Brown told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he held onto the car for about a block, but let go after the kid sped up.
Brown filed a report with the APD, and officers said they found the car a few hours later. Brown told WAGA that he did want to press charges.
What about Brown's campaign?
According to the Journal-Constitution, Brown launched his mayoral campaign with a platform calling for the "reimagining" of policing.
As a member of city council, he sponsored a move to consider the restricting the city's public safety agencies and create a new department focused on "wellness," the paper said.
He was also one of seven council members to support withholding $73 million from the APD's budget until the mayor's administration came up with a plan to "reinvent the culture of policing in the city."
Brown is also under indictment on multiple federal fraud charges, including lying about income on loan applications, the Journal-Constitution reported.