Crime and Corruption, Atlanta style: Warning, NOT Politically Correct…not even close.

I have been an Atlantan resident for 40 years this fall.  I have been here long enough to see radical and enormous changes in this city.  I used to be a community activist, but got tired after many years of beating my head against a wall of ignorance.  Many of my friends did too, and either retreated into their own lives or left Atlanta.

I moved here from Princeton, New Jersey for a job with Newsreel Films, got married the first time, bought an old 1880’s  Georgian (built by an English family, the Ragsdales) style house, got divorced, got married again (and this time it stuck) and stayed.

Many times I wish we hadn’t.  Atlanta is a strange city, with some very beautiful places, and also some places that are plumb ugly. Reminded me of Montreal in some areas:  beautiful places and places like Chinatown that were ugly.  Perhaps the greenery of Atlanta helps cover some of the seedier parts, but they are fast coming down for new development.

And that’s part of the problem.  I’ll be frank here, and revealing.  We have had black administrations for 36 years now.  Atlanta has suffered in that these administrations seem to have little regard for the historic buildings.  Down they go for ‘economic progress’.  Downtown Atlanta is one super hotel after another and all the old buildings, theaters, etc. have been razed in the name of ‘progress’.  One has to wonder about this mentality when “The Dump”, where Margaret Mitchell of “Gone With The Wind” wrote this historic book (historic because she was two generations removed from the Civil War and listened to and researched the stories of the elderly that were directly involved in that war…) and “The Dump” was firebombed three times at least in the past 15 years.  A little touchy there, and akin to book burning in my opinion.

Atlanta became something like 78% black in the 70’s I believe.  Most of the social services were intown, so blacks of a certain economic class settled or were settled intown.  There were lots of projects that were their dwellings.  Crime was always an issue, but not like what we are seeing now.  The stats of Atlanta changed over the past 15 years, actually, as more and more people came from all over the country and indeed, the world to settle in Atlanta.  There were many opportunities here, and many people settled into our small and historic neighborhoods.  Our own neighborhood dates from the 1850’s…and I remember reading where members of some Methodist church walked by lantren light for evening services in 1858.  Now, that doesn’t sound like a very old neighborhood, but people should remember what happened with Sherman, the Civil War, etc.  Plus, this area was farmland and forest, and not heavily populated.  That would come after the war when the economy slowly changed and recovered. We have a number of houses in our area, neighborhood that date from the 1860’s.  Sherman didn’t get everything in his march with matches.

About 10 years ago, gentrification became popular…or at least got a foothold in this city.  Property values intown went up and young whites and professionals moved into these once white and then black older neighborhoods like Capitol View Manor, Capitol View, Ormewood Park, Sylvan Hills, etc.  on the southside.

Living in one of these historic neighborhoods, well, I can attest that at times the mentality of some people is challenging.  They have been rather a social problem for these young whites as they confront with violence and ignorance new people  moving in.  I have had a couple of friends and neighbors who have been mugged in daylight in the Park, or have had these ‘citizens’ let loose with racial slurs.  Or their dogs.  And what happens??? Little, because the police take their old time showing up, long after the perps have run away.  A dear friend suffered a fractured skull and was almost killed.

And what is the kicker here?  Many new residents report that the police tell them that they should move out, or even this:  they don’t belong. They get what they deserve for living in Atlanta.   And what about the future of Atlanta?? Should it become a large ghetto?  Would this make any fucking sense?

People dodged the vagrants, whores and drug dealers on the streets. It was  the price you paid for the pre WWI Arts and Crafts houses  and 1920’s brick bungalows.

It was an uneasy truce at best but it was livable for a time.

There has always been a sentiment that ‘crime got worse when times got worse’.  Perhaps.  But what people, black and white refused to see was this:  there is a core criminal element that ALWAYS lives off the labors and property of others:  it’s not dependent upon ‘the times’, it’s just the way a certain group of people function.  They also breed more criminals, more generations of those who prey upon those who work hard for a living.

The police in part were part of the problem.  Most of the police force was black, and they were ‘soft’ on the criminals  for a number of reasons:  1) They came from some of the same projects, neighborhoods, etc. as the criminal elements, and in many cases knew the grandparents, mothers, etc. OF those criminals.  This was especially obvious with the prostitutes.  They would put them in a patrol car, drive them around the block, let them out.  Of course they would show up again, littering our streets and front lawns with their debris.

Many cops just didn’t see prostitution as a crime….and I believe that was a cultural issue.

It didn’t help that the corruption (shakedown of drug dealers and keeping the $$#) of the Atlanta Police Department was a long time issue, with the doctoring of records, etc.  But this isn’t much different than many cities.

We have had a lot of corruption with our mayors, elected officials, etc over the past years.  The mayor before Shirley Franklin, Bill Campbell went to prison for a laundry list of issues.  He was an arrogant bastard til the end, siting  “racism” for his convictions.  A thoroughly unpleasant fellow.

Which brings me to my present rant.  Atlanta is suffering an extreme crime wave.  It seems that every day a shooting, a carjacking, continued robberies, but more, the murders of innocent people is growing.  This week alone, two women were murdered execution style by 4 teens or young black men.  Saturday a world champion boxer was killed near my neighborhood when he was checking the pressure in his tires at a convenience store.  Yesterday, a 22 year old black woman was shot in the stomach twice in front of her children in a home invasion.  She died yesterday afternoon.  A few weeks ago two elderly people were blugeoned to death by 3 black teens.

And our Police Chief Richard Pennington sez that ‘it’s only our perceptions of crime increasing.’  Yeah, right.

Recently the President of the Atlanta City Council was robbed twice at home.  Good.  This seems to be the only way that attention is raised about our ‘preceived’ crime increase.

Last week, one of our Council members, Ceaser Mitchell, had his carjacked and a gun fired in the air.  Better.  It’s getting more attention now…..our ‘preceived’ crime increase.

This only happens when ‘celebrities’ are jacked around with crime.

Our own mayor, Shirley Franklin, is not too clean here.  She isn’t running for a third term, and is as arrogant as she can be.  She doesn’t give a damn, probably waiting for that call from Washington.  Her own daughter avoided a money laundering (just, with a lot of $$ and lawyers as was reported) charge (drugs) and her son in law is in prison for murder, drug running, weapons charges, etc.  He is in for life I understand.  Shirley Franklin knew this when she was contemplating for the second term.  She didn’t reveal this until after she was elected.  Boo.

Our Chief of Police is Richard Pennington.  He came straight out of New Orleans, and the history of crime in that city (and the overspill Atlantans know with the Katrina refugees here now and the spike in crime FROM these criminals)  should be well known.

A couple of months ago, HIS answer to Atlantans who complained about crime was this:  “You all are talking to each other in email, and your talking is talking up the crime.  Your perceptions are wrong: violent crime has gone down 8%”.

Bullshit.

All these above deaths of citizens we guess  are ‘perceived’ crimes??? They actually lived through the crimes?? These mourners are faking it?

I think it’s this:  15 years ago, Atlanta had a really bad crack epidemic.  All these children born from those crack mothers were predicted to be a problem for the future.  Well, nothing happened and people thought it was just a prediction.  But wait!  These kids weren’t old enough, and yes, the police say that the majority of crime are from the youth.

Sure looks like it.  13-16 year olds are stealing cars, gangs now have a different standard:  they are not territory emphasised, but are joining forces for smash and grabs (every day you read about some store, usually a clothing or jewelry store being smashed into) and to divide up the loot.  Shootings generally are youth and up to mid twenties now.  In January, a 17 year old blew away a bartender.  He was part of the Deep 30 gang from New Orleans and the police knew this gang and where they were located.  Too bad they never moved their asses until this man was killed.  And this gang was in my neighborhood.

Today our arrogant Mayor Franklin and her hand picked Chief Pennington are finally having a press conference about crime in Atlanta.  At least that is what we think they will be discussing.

Or perhaps they will be still pushing that it’s only our ‘perceived’ increase in crime.

We just received $11 million from Washington for the hiring of 50 more cops….we needed 300.  I guess Franklin and Pennington will be taking credit for this.

Sigh.  We need to clean house but the running field for Mayor this fall doesn’t look too good.

Lady Nyo

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4 Responses to “Crime and Corruption, Atlanta style: Warning, NOT Politically Correct…not even close.”

  1. steveb Says:

    Thanks Lady Nyo for the candid and stark realities of living in intown Atlanta, home to some of the most beautiful neighborhoods in the country as you noted. I too reside in Capitol View going on just 10-years so my perspective is similar but also different compared to your nealry 40 years. To see what a charming neighborhood this is from a historic and architecture standpoint, it pains me to see the abuse it endures. These people have no respect. But then again they have none for themselves. It is a culture in chaos.

    To add insult to serve injuries, we have a crisis in our local (neighborhood) housing market. As Lady Nyo pointed out we have welcomed an onslaught of new residents via gentrification. They are mostly white, some black, but interestingly most middle class blacks don’t want to live here as they do not want to live “among these people.” My hardworking, law abiding black neighbors moved out recently to a more stable area.

    This area, most notably zip code 30310, is one of the most hardest hit areas for mortgage fraud and foreclosures. These foreclosures are selling (bought by investors) under $50K with most going for $30K or less. These are the only houses selling. The house across the street from me had an offer of $68K but appraised at $29K. Appraisers use the most recent sales to arrive at their values but these are skewed due to the large investor purchases of foreclosures. Now actual home buyers cannot get appraisals to make purchases due to this disparity as they would need to come up with the cash to make up the difference. Renovated homes in this area have sold for between $130K-$200K just a year ago. We have got to get the appraisal process modified here or we face the prospect of returning to being an unstable, low-income, subsided housing neighborhood if owner occupied homes are not allowed to be bought. And what about those who have large mortgages relative to these low appraisals ? How long if at all will it take for market values to equal what is owed on them? If that doesn’t happen, we will see more foreclosures occur in the years ahead.

    I am going to confer with our legislators and local realtors to brainstorm for idea on how to combat this.

    Like

  2. ladynyo Says:

    Hi and Thanks! Steve.

    I’m not only going to approve this comment, I’m going to move it up to the face of the blog. People in this area read my blog (thank you!) and this information is too important to bury in the comments section.

    Let me know what I can do with this issue of contacting our elected officials. I agree 100% with you that we need to look again at the appraisal situation in our area.

    We are being royally screwed.

    Lady Nyo

    Like

  3. Margie Says:

    Politically correct or not, it is what it is. Sounds like the embers of activism are still smoldering! I’m so sad to see cities allowed to give up to the criminal elements and gangs, drugs, etc. that ruin the quality of life for the majority. New Jersey has many cities like that, Newark, the Oranges, Camden and Trenton. It takes consistent police work, neighborhood watches, political action. I hope Atlanta gets some good political leadership and dedicated police soon, to alleviate this situation.

    Like

  4. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Margie!

    I do, too. I remember Trenton, with it’s boarded up storefronts, etc…scary.

    Yes, Atlanta needs some help…hell, it needs a seachange.

    However, today because of the black eye the Mayor and Police Chief got from the media (even France did a video on the crime of Atlanta…) and other activists….they held a press conference, saying that this was THEIR plan to address crime.

    However, they were silent until they were baited yesterday. It’s been too much too long with the crime. And the Police Chief HAS checked out. He’s been MIA for a while and council people don’t even bother with him anymore.

    He did state that when the Mayor is gone (this fall thankfully) HE will be gone.

    He’s just hoofing it right now…

    Atlanta will never change because the same pool of candidates keep running. It’s a step up to Washington for some of them. And they line their pockets and go to prison like so many others. A few years ago, 11 political hangerons of Campbell (Mayor) did time around his corruption….it was just 12 months, etc….but they were guilty of something.

    Gangs are new really to Atlanta in a big way. These are kids that haven’t a father around, single parent households, and the gangs give them a bit of ‘family’ that their mothers can’t complete. Until black fathers become Fathers instead of sperm donors, this situation will never change. Of course, it is a class issue, but it’s also a cultural issue.

    Atlanta deserves better than what it has received over the past years.

    Jane

    Like

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