General Assembly to begin hearings on crime spike across Atlanta

After another violent weekend on the streets of Atlanta, Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston announced legislators will begin hearings on Atlanta’s crime issue at the end of May.

Ralston first announced the series of crime hearings back in March, but after the uptick in violent crimes in the city, he said those hearings take on more significance.

“This city has a real crime problem,” Ralston said. “Public safety is one of the real core functions of our government, and if we’re failing on that, then we have some serious problems.”

Villa Rica Republican J. Collins will chair the committee hearings which, according to Ralston, will focus on what resources the state could bring in to help the city of Atlanta combat crime, including using Georgia State troopers to patrol the streets and having the Georgia Bureau of Investigation help solve crimes.

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Ralston sent a letter to Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms explaining the reasoning behind holding the hearings.

“I would hope the city would cooperate,” Ralston said. “I would hope that the city would recognize that this is a problem and that we want to be good allies and partners in this fight.”

Bottoms sent Ralston a return letter, calling the recent increase in violent crime a “COVID crime wave.”

“Atlanta is not alone in the major uptick in crime since the onset of COVID-19,” Bottoms wrote. “Respectfully, I do hope that the state hearings on crime will focus on gun violence, and how to get the legislature to support our efforts to get guns out of the hands of criminals.”