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23 May 2014

Edwards Defends Record, Says Crime is Higher in Sandy Springs Than in South Fulton

In his first meeting with constituents since losing the 20 May 2014 Democrat primary, Fulton County Commissioner Bill Edwards defended his record as he prepares to leave office at the end of the year.

"We set a standard here in south Fulton, and it's up to you keep it as it is," Edwards told residents.

Thursday night's listening session, held at the South Fulton Government Center on Stonewall Tell, covered a variety of topics from code enforcement issues to the future of south Fulton. Still, most of the people's attention was focused on improving Old National Highway, which most agreed has seen better days.

Horace Copridge, a resident of the Pinetree Meadows community, asked what could be done to keep more businesses from leaving Old National due to crime.

Discount clothing store Ross Dress for Less, located in the Old National Town Center shopping plaza, is no longer open. Including the former Ross location, there is 41,467 square feet of vacant retail space in the plaza managed by Colliers International.

Edwards conceded that Ross Dress for Less had closed, but he said it was due to lack of support from the community not crime.

"We can keep a chicken shack, nail shop, and liquor store in business, but we can't keep a Ross," Edwards said. "Ross didn't have the sales to stay open."

The Old National/Flat Shoals corridor features two liquor stores, four chicken restaurants, two nail shops, two beauty supply stores, and a barber shop.

"We have police out on Old National every Friday night, running license plates and picking up people with arrest warrants," Edwards continued.

"Crime is higher in Sandy Springs than in south Fulton," the outgoing Fulton County Commissioner told the crowd as they nodded in agreement.

According to CrimeReports.com, a website used by law enforcement agencies to report crime statistics, the greater Old National community had more crime incidents than the Roswell Road community in Sandy Springs.

Within the past thirty days, there were 97 incidents of crime in the Old National/Flat Shoals area -- including 15 assaults, 22 breaking and entering reports, and 26 thefts from vehicle. The Roswell Road area, by comparison, only had 22 crime incidents reported on CrimeReports.com over the past month.

When asked what his future plans were, Fulton County Commissioner Bill Edwards said he planned on spending time with his grandchildren, working at his business, and staying active in the community.