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Rise in crime in southwest Atlanta has families on edge, and some moving out

Chanise Wright woke up Sunday morning to the sound of gunfire and bullet holes through her car doors, windows, and baby's car seat. They're now moving.

ATLANTA — Sunday's shooting at Rosa Burney Park comes as we see a rise in crime in southwest Atlanta. 

We're eight months into 2022, but we're already on track to surpass the total number of gun crimes committed against people in southwest Atlanta for all of last year.

For Chanise Wright, the crime is happening "too close to home." She said she woke up that same morning to the sound of gunfire and bullet holes throughout her car doors, windows, and baby's car seat.

"This could've been a lot worse and I'm thankful it wasn't but the what if doesn't leave because I'm looking at it right now… what if… it just doesn't leave me. This is just too close to home. You hear things in the news and they’re sad but to be a part of something... I don’t even know why this happened," she said.

She signed a one-year lease at an apartment in the area but decided to move out after just one month. 

"I can't live here. I can't sleep here. Because I was asleep when it happened and that the bullets I heard went into my car and the bedroom window is just feet away from my car? I can't sleep here," she said. 

Since she still has to pay rent at that apartment, she created a fundraiser to be able to afford rent elsewhere. To donate, click here

Nearly three miles from where Wright's car was hit by bullets, six people were shot in a southwest Atlanta park. This area has been hit particularly hard by gun violence.

In 2021, out of 198 total crimes against people involving a firearm, at least 37 happened in the area.

So far this year, out of 96 total crimes against people involving guns, at least 29 happened in southwest Atlanta, putting it on track to surpass last year's numbers.

Chris Rich has a licensed private security firm, offering services from estate protection, personal protection, armed and unarmed guards, as well as security assessment and systems.

"I hate to even say it but, my prediction is that crime is going to get worse on different levels – from property crimes, especially if the trend keeps going that we don't have the police resources or even 911 staff," he said.

Rich said violent crimes will likely continue to rise well through 2023, especially in places with high-income inequality.

"Atlanta is the worst place to live as far as income inequality, it's the worst place to live as far as minimum wage here in Atlanta, year after year," he said. “You have a perfect recipe right now that’s brewing: you’ve got rise in inflation, housing issues... some of these issues that have been brewing within the Black community for, I think, forever. I think COVID really ripped that Band-Aid off so now you have people that are trying to make a living any way they can.”

Rich said that now more than ever before, you need to check that your home security systems work, be aware of your surroundings and also watch what you wear in public. He said sometimes criminals decide who to target based on expensive brands you may be wearing or buying at the store.

"Do your cameras work? Do you need better systems? Fog lights? All of those systems are a method to give you time to respond. So that when someone does break into your house, you have a plan," he added.

While no Atlanta neighborhood appears untouched by the rise in crime, certain areas have been hit harder than others.

"Zones 1, 3, and 4 are the hot stops," he said. "That's Lakewood, Oakland City, southwest, the west side of Atlanta. I feel like things are going to get worse until cities can figure out how to recruit more law enforcement but also collaborate better with the justice department on repeat violent offenders." 

He said in the past three years, more and more companies have opted to hire private security.

"It’s a growing problem whether its residential people that are complaining or calling 911 for their car that’s broken in or private security calling because they’re seeing activity in the city and there’s no response," he said.

To learn more about his company, click here.

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