“What does decrease crime is being able to provide cultural resources,” Taylor said. “So people have stable places to live, so that people have food, people have stable communities and safe communities. That's what decreases crime.” But leaders like Joyce Sheperd, a city councilmember who represents the Atlanta district that includes Pittsburgh, are more pro-police, arguing that a law enforcement presence combined with community initiatives will help alleviate crime. She sponsored legislation that authorized the city to lease land to the Atlanta Police Foundation for the construction of a $90 million, 150-acre police training facility on the outskirts of the city. The city council adopted the plan in September. The Community Movement Builders and other activist groups protested construction of the training facility from its earliest days. It drew the ire of city leaders like Sheperd, who has been at odds with the organizing group and said their efforts were counterproductive. “There were people who were anti-police basically saying that we should not build out a police academy ... they came and protested in front of my house on my porch,” said Sheperd. The movement against the training facility became known as “Stop Cop City” and has grown into one of the most heated debates in Atlanta around use of municipal funds and the role of police in alleviating crime. However, because construction of the training facility is likely to take years to complete, it won’t have an impact on the current crime spike. What it will do instead, says Kamau Franklin, founder of the Community Movement Builders, is boost morale among the city’s police force after the Floyd unrest while negating the needs of the communities they are meant to serve. “This is not just a ‘both sides’ argument around what’s the best way to solve crime,” Franklin said. “This is also about perpetuating a narrative that the police were somehow victims last year.” The pandemic-related crime wave is a leading issue in municipal elections across the country. Atlanta voters will choose a new mayor on Nov. 2, and the two top-polling candidates, former Mayor Kasim Reed and City Council president Felicia Moore, have shaped their campaign pitches largely around their approaches to crime. Reed’s familiarity with Atlanta — and his relentless focus on crime — has helped vault him to the top of the candidate pool. In an interview, the f . . . read the full article here.