AJC: Crime gives Clayton one crisis too many
The FBI’s report of a double-digit rise in violent crime in Clayton County stings a community already reeling from lost school accreditation and a staggering foreclosure rate.
It also foreshadows a possible spiraling out of economic control.
Violent crime in Clayton rose by 21 percent in 2007 to 1,366 reports, up from 1,126 in 2006, according to the federal report.
To the head of Clayton County’s Chamber of Commerce, the crime statistics are the final blow.
“There is nowhere to go but up,” said Geoff Fulton, chairman of the chamber’s board of directors. “The sheriff, the district attorney and all nine school board members are gone.”
But Fulton, in a breath of cautious optimism, is hopeful the county can recover.
“Certainly, it isn’t always going to be this way,” he said.
Clayton reported 143 more aggravated assaults (up 28.3 percent), 35 more rapes (up 83 percent) and 61 more robberies (up 11.2 percent).
Neighboring Fayette County, which reported just 33 violent crimes — up just six violent incidents — was the only other county in the metropolitan Atlanta area to see double-digit increases.
Yesterday I reported about the record number of Black folks moving into the former Republican stronghold of Fayette County. This is evident by the number of Democratic party campaign signs in the yards. Yes - in 2 cases that I am thinking of I saw Black folks standing in the yards of these particular homes.
In summary they are "loyal Democrats living in a Republican environment" some of whom have escaped areas such as Clayton County where the policies that they are inclined to support at the voting booth being policies and outcomes that they avoid in their real lives.
I have been on the look out for Clayton County. I have seen an otherwise stable county spiral out of control by a group of leaders, many of whom had their personal ambitions above the best interests of county that they were presiding over.
I have been in a feverish debate with a good friend of mine regarding ACCOUNTABILITY. He, a loyal Democrat, has his mind set on holding "National Republicans" accountable. I countered that in 2008 more of the issues that impact Black people are local in nature. His inclination was to put Barack Obama in the White House "working for us" and then have the people to hold each other accountable, just as Barack Obama said. (Yes he made the circular reference to Barack Obama).
I am not saying that Barack Obama is at fault in Clayton County and other places where Black Democrats are in charge yet the community is suffering. I am only making a comment about the current disconnectedness between the claims of the Black community and inability to manage these desires into fruition.
I keep referencing "The Machine" that currently dominates our communities. In my friend's view the alignment between local, federal and state, once achieved is going to result in untold benefits for the Black community. He is able to rationalize my focus on the current failures of the local governments that are already aligned in his favor by quickly pointing to the "Republicans in the state" who stand against providing more resources to the cities. (I am not making this up one bit folks). Thus as I have reported for a while, the story goes - "Don't criticize me on my quarterly results, focus on my over all agenda in which all of this will be made right". Where as a normal lottery payout will give you incremental payouts over time or you can get a factor of your money up front. In the case of my friend and other BQPFRC's - the concept is turned on its head. There is only one payout - the gold at the end of the rainbow. Its benefit is only received if we as Black people all stay "united" and execute the strategy that they control. Of course "united" means - don't fundamentally question what is going on and, most certainly, don't seek to ask that competitive concepts be considered so that BETTER RESULTS might be achieved
I live in the numbers that this crime report captures about Clayton County. As a neighbor of the county the criminal does not care much about invisible borders painted on the ground separating the counties. They have come down and increased their robberies of local stores and gas stations. In truth - there is no escape. While I don't have any legislative control over Clayton County per my vote I do have an interest in not having it collapse, turning into a death spiral where even more people will vacate the county.