Crime center stage as voters head to polls to decide on next Atlanta mayor

For months, FOX 5 has been reporting that crime and public safety are at the top of voters' lists in their decision on who will be Atlanta's next mayor. The night before Election Day drove home that point with three deadly shootings within minutes of each other and just hours before polls were set to open.

The first incident happened along Fulton Street where Atlanta police said they found a man shot to death in the stairwell of an apartment around 8:18 p.m. Police said the victim had multiple gunshot wounds. The victim's identity has not been released, but police said they believe the victim and the shooter were acquaintances. 

A half-hour before that call, on New Town Circle, police responded to another shooting. Investigators said the victim, believed to be in his 40s, was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds around 7:40 p.m. Investigators said, again, a fight is believed to have led to the shooting.

About 40 minutes earlier, police had responded to a shooting on While Oak Avenue SW. Police said two men who knew each other got into an argument, one pulled a gun out and shot the other. The victim, who is believed to be in his late 20s to early 30s, was rushed to Grady Memorial Hospital where he died.

Police said none of the incidents are related.

Candidates for mayor have been touting their plans as to how they plan to reduce crime such as these. 

Kasim Reed, a former mayor, touts crime statistics that were low during his tenure. He also points to the officers that were hired under his administration, reaching for a brief period the 2,000 full authorization. 

"I have done it before," a confident Reed explained during a meeting with leaders of the police union. 

Council President Felicia Moore boasts she has her own support among officers. And she says part of her strategy will be prevention. For example, she says she will make the owners of nightclubs responsible for incidents that spill over from their properties.

Attorney Sharon Gay, who is in the top tier of mayoral candidates, believes crime prevention starts with fortifying the police department. She would not stop at hiring hundreds of new officers. She said her administration would supply the officers with the best equipment and training. 

Councilman Andre Dickens points to youth engagement to guide young people away from crime. One example was his initiation of the midnight basketball league in the city.

Antonio Brown, another council member, is telling voters the next mayor must take a "holistic" approach to curb violence. Brown says the seeds of criminal behavior sprout from the disadvantaged. "It cannot simply be more jails," Brown said. "What has that gotten us?"

Click the candidates below to learn more about each:

The election will also be held for several Atlanta City Council seats.

If a single candidate does not get 50 percent plus one of the votes, there will be a runoff on Nov. 30.

Several other municipalities across north Georgia will also be headed to the polls on Tuesday.

For information on current voting status, polling locations, and more visit