Crime takes center stage at Buckhead town hall meeting

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Dozens, if not hundreds of Buckhead residents were turned away from a town hall meeting Thursday night after the auditorium reached capacity. The event, hosted by Mayor Bottoms was held at the Atlanta History Museum.

Even though the meeting featured leaders from a variety of departments, it was clear from the questions asked by the audience, that the focus was crime.

"People are constantly talking about mail being stolen out of their mailboxes, cars getting broken into, it seems like, it feels like it has gotten worse" noted resident Victoria Archable.

After a round of introductions, Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields took the microphone and began a candid conversation about auto theft, violent crime, and criminal prosecutions.

"At the Atlanta Police department we have struggled with crime in, we call it Zone 2, the Buckhead space for the last 18 months," Chief Shields said. "We have thrust every imaginable resource up here we have our teams out here in full force and it has made a difference" noted Shields.

As the conversation continued, the focus turned to criminal prosecutions, with the Chief making pointed comments at prosecutors and the criminal justice system as a whole.

"I need the district attorney to show us who is getting prosecuted and who is getting pled out, okay? When cases are adjudicated that adjudication should be transparent to all of us, particularly law enforcement, what is happening to our cases? we don't know" Shields said.

FOX 5 News heard from several residents who said they don't feel safe going to the grocery store, or walking down city streets. For hours the Police Chief and Mayor Bottoms addressed the concerns, noting changes in policies and resources to address the problems.

It was estimated that nearly 200 people were unable to participate in the meeting. Those neighbors were offered the chance to meet one-on-one with city employees that had tables set up in the lobby of the venue.

This town hall was one of several scheduled throughout the city in the coming months.