Kemp blames ‘lack of elected leadership’ in Atlanta for contributing to spike in crime

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Gov. Brian Kemp met Thursday with the head of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, his staff and Georgia’s attorney general to get an update on how the state’s gang task force is helping law enforcement tackle the gang problem across Georgia.

Channel 2′s Richard Elliot has learned that gang activity across the state has spiked in recent months despite their efforts, but Kemp also pulled no punches when talking about the city of Atlanta and its spike in crime.

“A lack of elected leadership in our capital city is creating an anti-police, soft on crime environment, which is allowing violent crime to skyrocket and (which) endangers the safety and security of families across the metro Atlanta area,” Kemp said.

Kemp campaigned on fighting gang violence two years ago, and it’s becoming a cornerstone of his reelection campaign.

But crime has become a huge issue across the region.

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Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis told Channel 2 Action News earlier this week that she needs more resources to fight gang-related crimes.

“This is a huge step to address, the crime crisis. The reality is that we know our car break-ins, our shootings, our robberies are often attached to gang violence,” Willis said.

Barely two miles from GBI headquarters, Elliot found Derrick Williams keeping a very close eye on his 12-year-old daughter, Autumn Rain.

He said he worries everyday violence will affect her and, for the first time ever, is thinking about moving away.

“You know, it’s kind of feeling like I don’t even want to be in Atlanta no more, and I’ve lived here all my life. I love Atlanta,” Williams said.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ office released a statement Thursday, saying:

“Mayor Bottoms spent part of this afternoon working with President Biden’s Community Violence Intervention cohort on finding solutions to the rise in crime in Atlanta, and across the nation. As the Governor focuses on his re-election talking points, the Mayor will continue doing the real work to address this public epidemic. As a reminder, the Governor has purview over the entire metro area, not the Mayor of Atlanta.”

Bottoms is expected to announce her plan to crack down on crime in a news conference scheduled for Friday.