TERRIFIED residents of a wealthy Atlanta neighborhood want to break away from the city and create their own police force after a violent crime wave and reduction in cops.
Atlanta’s richest neighborhood of Buckhead is determined to take action to ensure residents’ safety as the city has been hit by a surge in crime with murders up 80 percent so far this year.
The Buckhead Exploratory Committee want to break away from the city in the wake of a tsunami of violent crime that has left people “genuinely concerned for their safety”.
In one shocking incident, a woman was thrown to the ground on her driveway and had a gun held to her head before robbers made off with her purse and cellphone.
Home surveillance footage captured another terrifying scene as a man sprinted to reach the safety of his home as a car pulled up with a man brandishing a rifle.
The violence claimed the life of the area's youngest victims back in December when seven-year-old Kennedy Maxie was shot in the head and killed during a Christmas shopping trip with her family.
The Buckhead Exploratory Committee told The Wall Street Journal residents want to create their own police force because they no longer feel protected in their daily lives.
He had no regard for my life
Lauren Lenoir, a 43-year-old restaurant general manager, was left fearing for her life after having a gun pulled on her in a robbery as she returned home from work one evening, reported the WSJ.
“He had no regard for my life. They've stolen something that I cannot get back, and that is my sense of security,” she said.
Another resident, who has lived in the neighborhood since 2002, said several of his neighbors are also considering moving after he was followed home after buying takeout pizza for his family last summer.
Shocking surveillance footage captured the moment he arrived home as a man following him pulls up and takes out a rifle.
The victim is seen running into his home where he calls 911, causing the attacker to flee.
“You kind of are hopeful that this is a near-term trend,” he told the WSJ.
“At first it's just a one-off, but then it keeps happening and you wonder, are we just stupid for staying here?”
The neighborhood is a historically wealthy district and was once ranked the ninth richest zip code in the country with a median price of homes of $1,460,595, according to Forbes.
In the police zone that includes Buckhead, robberies were up 40 per cent from the same period last year and aggravated assaults rose 35 per cent.
The crime spree in Buckhead is part of a wider surge across the city in the last year after around 200 officers left the force following the fatal shooting of black man Rayshard Brooks by a white cop in June.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms admitted in December she doesn't know how to stop the alarming wave of violence and is “open to suggestions”.
There are now just 1,700 cops serving the force, compared to the possible 2,046 it is authorized to have at one time.
Crime data shows homicides up 80 percent across Atlanta in the period running January 1 to February 20 compared to the same period last year.
Shooting incidents also rose 32 percent, robberies 17 percent and aggravated assaults and auto thefts were both up 47 percent.
“Our residents are genuinely concerned for their safety and the safety of their family members,” said the Buckhead Exploratory Committee.
City officials have opposed the idea to separate the wealthy, largely white neighborhood from the rest of Atlanta, which is predominantly black, arguing it would siphon away much of the city's tax base and, in turn, its budget.
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