News & Politics

Atlanta's Mayor Urges Eyewitnesses to Call 911 Instead of Videoing Incidents

(AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

I recently had to drive to Atlanta for an errand, and it struck me how different I felt about heading into the city. At one location I parked in a secure location, and while when I ate lunch, I made sure I could see my car from my table. An armed off-duty police officer stood guard outside of Whole Foods, and many stores in the tony area of Buckhead had private security.

Atlanta used to be a safe city as long as you knew which areas to avoid. But crime has taken over the city, and now Atlanta’s mayor is urging citizens to take a more active role in reporting crime.

Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlanta’s Democrat mayor, has responded to a shooting in a midtown Atlanta high-rise that left two people dead by asking eyewitnesses to call 911 rather than recording videos of incidents.

Fox News reports:

“Just a reminder to the public to please call 911,” Bottoms said during a news conference. “We did start receiving phone calls but social media received information, and has received more information, quite frankly, than we have received through our 911 center. So for us to be able to appropriately respond and assess, we just ask if you can put down your camera, put down your phone, call 911 and then allow us to do what we do.”

Bottoms also asked those who recorded video of the shooting to share it with local authorities.

Police Chief Rodney Bryant backed up Bottoms’ assertion that too many people videoed the incident rather than reaching out to police, and he also asked eyewitnesses to turn in their recordings.

Shootings like this one in midtown Atlanta are certainly not uncommon, but the concern over witnesses documenting the event rather than seeking help comes on the heels of an incident in Philadelphia last week where a woman was raped on a commuter train while bystanders did nothing.

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The truth of the matter is that this week’s shooting is indicative of the rise in crime throughout Atlanta, and Bottoms bears at least some of the blame. She has pinned the crime spike on the pandemic, but rather than choosing to take steps to remedy the issue, Bottoms has engaged in repeated wars of words with Georgia Governor Brian Kemp over mask mandates.

Even though she hasn’t joined the chorus of the far-left Defund the Police movement, Bottoms admitted last year that the city has been taking funds away from the police over the past few years:

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said during her weekly conference call with the Atlanta City Council on June 10 that “defunding the police” doesn’t mean to get rid of cops and police departments [sic]. Rather, it’s about reallocating funding to social services and community enhancement initiatives led by trained professionals instead of officers.

“We are already reallocating around 50% of our corrections budgets into those specific areas,” Bottoms said. “We’ve been doing this work over the last couple of years and have been thoughtful on how we spend this money.”

The City of Atlanta increased its police department budget by 7% earlier this year, but it may be too little, too late. The ritzy Buckhead section in the northern part of town is considering seceding and spinning off its own city. Bottoms has apparently given up and chosen not to seek a second term — a striking reversal of fortune for a woman who once appeared on then-candidate Joe Biden’s vice-presidential shortlist. The mayor’s race has become a referendum on crime in some ways now that Bottoms is off the campaign trail.

Cities like Atlanta — which has elected Democrats for decades — need to get their crime under control. The situation in Atlanta echoes many other urban areas and proves that leftist approaches to crime aren’t working.