The Buckhead Coalition held its 34th annual luncheon meeting on Thursday, January 25th, 2024 at St. Regis Hotel, Buckhead, in Atlanta, Georgia.
Citing Buckhead Coalition’s display of its areas of focus, “’Public safety, city services, zoning, transportation and infrastructure, and homelessness’ line up with many of my initiatives,” stated Atlanta Mayor Andre P. Dickens.
Dickens pointed out that “violent crime is down in the City of Atlanta. We did this together.”
He cited these Atlanta crime statistics: ending 2023, city-wide homicide down by 21%, down by 31% in Zone 2 (in Buckhead); city-wide aggravated assault down 16%; shootings down 18%; and rapes down 50%.
“Motor vehicle theft,” however, “was up across our city,” he indicated, continuing that the city is trying to combat the trend of burglarized and stolen Hyundais, Kias and other vehicles.
“Any single crime is one crime too many,” Dickens added, but “We are moving in the right direction.” “By dialing these numbers back, it means that a kid, anywhere in our city, Buckhead, or Southwest Atlanta, or Eastside isn’’t dying tragically because of an argument or a simple street incident late at night. They can live in the city that attracts more foot traffic.” “Owners can spend less time thinking about extra security; and customers can feel more secure in our malls, in our commercial districts.” “It means our moms and dads can feel more safe in our city parks where their kids are enjoying a hot summer afternoon and enjoying the sun with each other.”
The Buckhead Coalition and the City of Atlanta care deeply about the issue of homelessness. Dickens states that “Many lack food or shelter or healthcare… putting them at risk of illness, injury or even death.” “This is not just a humanitarian crisis, it is a public health and safety crisis and affects us all.” The city is enthusiastic and hopeful to provide more support services and shelter services to combat hunger and homelessness.
Georgia House Speaker Jon G. Burns spoke and mentioned the Buckhead area as an example of “where dreams become a reality, a place to live, work and raise a family.” He stated the successes of economic development, more jobs, better pay, focus on safety and security. Burns further emphasized Buckhead’s overall crime reduction and that violent crime is down. “We are certainly moving in the right direction, and, it is my belief, that is a direct result of policies and partnerships from both the state and the city levels,” Burns stated.
Atlanta Mayor Andre P. Dickens
Mayor Andre P. Dickens is the 61st and current mayor of Atlanta, Georgia. He is the chief development officer at TechBridge, a nonprofit technology organization, that offers affordable technology and business expertise to other nonprofits in underserved areas. Dickens also serves on the Georgia Tech Alumni Board, the Alumnus Leadership Atlanta, Diversity Leadership Atlanta, United Way VI, and Regional Leadership Institute.
Georgia House Speaker Jon G. Burns
Speaker Jon Burns was elected as Georgia’s 75th Speaker of the House of Representatives in January 2023. He represents the 159th legislative district of Georgia that includes Screven County and portions of Effingham and Bulloch Counties. He was first elected to the House in 2004. As Speaker, he serves as the House’s chief administrative officer. Speaker Burns also presides over House floor sessions, assigns bills to committees, and calls matters before the House for debate.
Founded in 1988 as a private non-profit corporation, the Buckhead Coalition was created with the mission of nurturing the quality of life in Buckhead and improving the community as an integral part of the City of Atlanta. The late former Atlanta Mayor Sam Massell served as President of the Buckhead Coalition from its creation until his retirement in 2020 and formed close working relationships among the Coalition and both city and state governments as well as influential citizen groups. Today, the Buckhead Coalition consists of 124 members. Current officers include: Eric J. Tanenblatt, chairman; Kristin R. Adams, treasurer; Jim Durrett, president and CEO; and Juanita P. Baranco, immediate past chair.