I’m going to break away from the normal Thursday post because there’s been something on my mind lately that is starting to trump my attempts to live a greener life.
We chose our house because it is still intown, but has a decently sized lot. It is a reasonable walking or biking distance to restaurants and nightlife and several local businesses. Most of the older houses here (like ours) have a reasonable footprint, and ours was ready to be renovated, ensuring we could improve on things like energy and water usage. Laws permit the keeping of chickens, and three different bus routes stop at the curb. The neighborhood is full of smaller, scooter-friendly streets and we even have our own farmer’s market.
It seemed perfect.
Then our welcome to the neighborhood in the form of two attempted burglaries and a stolen scooter knocked us right back into the reality of living in a “transitional” neighborhood. Since those first few months, we’ve had to deal with an escalating crime problem so out of control that it is practically the first topic on all my neighbor’s tongues.
A local tv station ran this story last week about the juvenile “take em home to mom” program:
As damning as that story is, it’s really only part of the problem. Adult crimes are even more out of control and programs like this one in Fulton County ensure that many defendents of so-called “non-violent” crimes don’t even have to pay their own bond. (aside: ever been robbed? It’s anything BUT nonviolent) Even those arrested for the most serious crimes are likely to have their charges pled down to something that puts them right back on the street to kill again..
Our mayor and police chief continue to tell us that “Crime is Down”, while neighbors continue to get mugged, robbed, carjacked, even shot in broad daylight while mowing their lawns.
So what do you do when walking alone or after dark starts to feel like a game of Russian Roulette? What do you do when your bicycles and scooters are stolen? What do you do when neighborhood kids think nothing of plucking the fruits of your gardening labors off the vine before you have a chance to? How do you save energy in the home when an open window is an invitation to be robbed? How do we enjoy our neighborhoods and parks and gardens when maintaining our personal safety in them has become such a challenge?
The bottom line is that for Atlanta residents, our Justice System is no longer sustainable. We need to be encouraging the growth of intown neighborhoods, but our elected leaders are turning them into war zones with their refusal to take crime and repeat criminals seriously.
This cannot continue.