Crime among top issues for Atlanta voters on eve of midterms

Georgia Senate Runoff

ATLANTA (NewsNation) — With less than one month to go before the highly anticipated 2022 midterm elections, Georgia voters say crime is one of their primary concerns.

NewsNation spoke to Atlanta residents who said the recent rise in violence has become a constant presence in their day-to-day lives.

“Driving to Little League and having to go through police tape because someone was just shot at the gas station next door,” said Lindsey Bender. “That’s something we have to deal with now.”

Kate Hudson, who was born and raised in Atlanta, said she’s backing former football player Herschel Walker because she believes he will prioritize public safety.

“We can’t have people that are interested in defunding the police when we’re living in the middle of what we are,” said Hudson.

After spiking nearly 30% in 2020, homicides nationwide continued to rise in 2021. There were an estimated 22,900 homicides nationwide last year, up from 22,000 the year prior, according to the latest FBI data.

For the last three years, violent crime across Georgia has been on the rise. In the state’s largest city and capital, the murder rate has continued to increase and is currently up 7% from this time last year.

Burgularies in Atlanta are up 18% compared to this time last year.

Crime has become a focal point in Georgia’s hotly contested Senate race between incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker.

Walker has continually slammed Warnock for being soft on crime, accusing him of demonizing police.

Warnock has pointed out that he’s only voted to increase police funding. The sitting senator has also supported legislation that would make it easier for the federal government to prosecute police misconduct cases.

Voters who said they support Warnock think the solution to rising crime will have to go beyond policing.

Atlanta resident Miles Dapro told NewsNation too many people are being incarcerated for low-level crimes, particularly Blacks and Latinos.

“I think whoever is pushing to stop that is the best candidate,” said Dapro.

Tyrone Brooks said he’s also worried about mass incarceration and a justice system that appears to benefit the wealthy.

“Jails are packed with young African-Americans — brown and black — and poor whites, every day because they can’t afford lawyers,” he said.

Other women NewsNation spoke to said they don’t even wear their wedding rings and jewelry outside the house because they don’t want to become a target.

Warnock and Walker will discuss crime, among other issues, in their first and only debate in Savannah on Friday night.

You can watch the full debate live on NewsNation from 7 to 8 p.m. Eastern Time.

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