A recent spate of homicides, in Atlanta in particular, has contributed to a general sense of unease over public safety in Georgia. Gov. Brian Kemp has blamed criminal gangs as the main driver.

Notorious national and transnational gangs such as the Bloods, Crips, the Central American gang MS-13 and the white nationalist gangs Ghostface Gangsters and the Aryan Brotherhood have a presence in the Peach State, officials say. While trimming budgets in most areas, Georgia's state legislature has allocated nearly $3 million in funding towards the project since 2019. 

Violent crime statewide has ticked up over the past two years, according to U.S. Department of Justice and GBI statistics. Crime in 2020 was down 22% compared to 2019, but murder, rapes and aggravated assault all increased, while burglary, robbery, larceny and motor vehicle theft declined.

Amid the crime-data clash of historical lows and the recent statewide uptick, the issue has become dominant in the upcoming Atlanta mayoral election this year and likely will be key to the governor’s reelection campaign in 2022. 

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