Georgia throws $5M at Atlanta to combat crime


Gov. Brian Kemp has directed $5 million from his emergency fund to the Georgia Department of Public Safety to help curb crime in Atlanta.

Kemp said the department must use the money to continue the state's efforts to curtail street racing, human trafficking and gang violence.

“This funding – up to $5 million through the end of June – will assist the Department of Public Safety and their partners in their mission to stop crime before it happens, and ensure law-breakers are brought to justice,” Kemp said Monday in a video message. “The state of Georgia will continue to use every resource at its disposal to rid our communities of crime and keep Georgia families safe.”

Kemp has pushed initiatives for the past two years aimed at fighting human trafficking and gang violence. At the beginning of the 2020 legislative session, Kemp asked legislators to approve spending nearly $2 million for seven new positions on the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's Gang Task Force and resources to set up the statewide gang database. Kemp signed three bills into law in April aimed at reducing human trafficking.

“Earlier this year, I tasked Col. Chris Wright, Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, with doing everything we can in state government to bring crime in Atlanta under control,” Kemp said. “State troopers, alongside local officers and other state law enforcement partners, created a crime suppression unit which has taken the fight to bad actors and criminals on our streets.”

As of the week ending May 15, the Atlanta Police Department saw a 6% increase in major crimes since the same time last month. The department reported a total of 1,510 rapes, murders, assaults, auto thefts, burglary, robberies, car break-ins and other thefts over the past 28 days, data shows. Rape has increased by 82% compared with 2020, and murder has increased by 50% over the year. The report does not reflect cases of human trafficking or street racing.

The city of Atlanta's Department of Police Services has a $230 million operating budget for fiscal year 2022, reflecting a 7% increase over its police budget for fiscal year 2021. However, Atlanta Police Department officials declined to offer recommendations for the $5 million Kemp has directed to crime reduction in the area.

The state and local governments spend about $4.8 billion a year on police and corrections, according to the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. The Georgia Department of Safety received more than $242 million in state and federal funding for fiscal year 2021.

The Georgia Department of Safety and Attorney General Chris Carr's office did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

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