A wealthy suburb of Atlanta is seeking secession from the Democratic-run city, pointing to record spikes in violent crime.
Buckhead, one of Atlanta's wealthiest suburbs, is pushing to secede and become its own city, the New York Post reported on Wednesday. State and local Republican legislators passed two bills sending the proposed Buckhead City to the full state Senate for consideration.
Sen. Randy Robertson (R.), who sponsored the proposal, criticized elected city officials who "forget who they work for." Residents say that failed leadership is to blame for the city's crime surge, which has reached the suburb located miles north of the downtown area.
"Buckhead is a target. We're a target for criminals in the city, and Atlanta has not been able to protect us," said one resident.
Buckhead last year saw 10 homicides, 22 rapes, 211 aggravated assaults, and 238 burglaries and breaking-and-entering cases, according to a report of crime statistics from TV station 11 Alive.
Wealthier residents' desire to leave the Democratic-run city is part of a larger trend across the nation of families and businesses fleeing blue states with rampant crime and high costs of living. California's population plummeted by more than half a million between 2020 and 2022. Residents are specifically migrating to more financially hospitable states like Florida and Texas to escape high taxes and house prices. In 2021, 8 percent of taxpayers making more than $25 million left New York.
Georgia Democrats, meanwhile, have come out in opposition against Buckhead's effort to become independent from Atlanta.
"I voted against the 'Buckhead City' bills, which the majority of my constituents oppose and which threaten the stability of our education, public safety, transportation, and financial systems statewide," said Democratic state senator Jason Esteves.
Atlanta mayor Andre Dickens (D.) is "disappointed by the committee's vote to advance this short-sighted legislation" and claimed the city is working to reduce crime, according to a statement from a spokesman.