#ElectionCentral – Crime is central issue as runoff election gets underway | #College. | #Students

Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore speaks upon taking the oath of office on Jan. 2, 2018 in the MLK Auditorium at Morehouse College. Photo by: Itoro N. Umontuen/The Atlanta Voice

Monday night, the Fulton County chapter of the League of Women Voters and the Georgia ACLU, among other organizations, hosted a debate between the remaining Atlanta mayoral candidates, City Council President Felicia Moore and City Councilman Andre Dickens. The debate was held at The Gathering Spot on Northyards Boulevard.

A seminal moment during the debate was when the moderator asked the candidates, “What keeps you awake at night, and what allows you to have a good night’s sleep?”

“We have a broken city,” said Moore, who got 41 percent of the vote last week. “We have not paid attention to the foundation, the fundamental services of the city and how they’re delivered.

During the debate, Dickens pleaded that Atlanta’s issues with crime and poverty will only get worse if economic inequality is not addressed.

Atlanta City Councilman Andre Dickens speaks to reporters on Thursday, September 9, 2021 at his campaign headquarters in Atlanta. (Photo: Itoro N. Umontuen/The Atlanta Voice)

In Atlanta, murders are up 13%, rape has increased 62%, aggravated assault is up 23%, and auto thefts are up 9% according to the Atlanta Police Department’s weekly crime report.

“It’s knowing that bullets are not going to be flying through your window while you’re sleeping,” Moore said. “It means that you know that you can drive somewhere and stop at a light and not be pulled out and beaten to a pulp and waiting for a long time for someone to come. It means calling 911 for help and someone actually is able to answer the phone, and our officers are able to actually get to you because the cars that they have actually work and are running. Or the fire happens and the trucks actually can get to where you are and reach you. So those are the things that keep me up at night. And that is one of the reasons I’m running for mayor, is—we have a broken city. And we have not paid attention to the foundation, the fundamental services in this city and how they’re delivered, making sure we have the equipment…. We have to be able to serve you.”

Meanwhile, Dickens talked about the city’s wealth gap and inequality as two contributing factors to Atlanta’s crime issues.

“I actually think it’s the steady drumbeat of inequity that I keep feeling,” Dickens answered. That keeps me up at night. I feel like I’m chasing and trying to help the city chase to catch up, so that all of us can be able to still live here. It does keep me up at night, because that leads to a lot of things like homelessness, and crime, and despair. That beat, I hear it, I feel it, it’s trying to catch up each day, trying to help people get to fairness… and then beyond: opportunity. And so that keeps me up, so that’s where I spend a lot of my time, trying to uplift people, and help them beat the odds, because the odds are now beginning to be stacked against too many people in our city. And so this tale of two cities is going to end up to be one city (if nothing is done), and it’s going to be San Francisco where it’s all prosperity, and all the poor folks have to drive in every day to serve the rich, and then they go back home at night. And so that’s a steady drumbeat that I’m a little unnerved by, and it leads to other things, like crime and stuff.”

Early voting begins November 17th and the runoff election will be held November 30th.


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