Andrea Worthy, the city’s economic development director, gives a presentation on the north end’s demographics at the task force’s Aug. 8 meeting. (Evelyn Andrews)

Members of the north end task force were surprised to learn that the area is safer than the rest of the city during an analysis of current demographics and statistics at its Aug. 8 meeting.

In 2017, the crime rate in the north end was 17 offenses per 1,000 people, over 10 lower than the city-wide total. The data is comprised of part one crimes, including murder, rape, vehicle theft and other major crimes.

So far in 2018, that rate is also lower in the north end, which is defined for the task force purposes as bordered by Darymple Road, Ga. 400 and the city’s northern border at the Chattahoochee River. Roswell Road runs through the center of the area.

The data was part of a presentation given by the city’s Economic Development Director Andrea Worthy on the “current situation” in the north end at the North End Revitalization Task Force’s third meeting.

“The perception is that the north end is less safe, but it’s a lot different than that, which is interesting,” Worthy said.

The task force is intended to use the information to shape what projects and initiatives it should be propose to the City Council at the end of the process, meeting facilitator Otis White said.

Other main takeaways from the presentation: residents in the north end area less likely to homeowners; housing costs are lower; the retail vacancy rate is higher; apartments are lower density; and residents are younger, more diverse and have less wealth.

The population of black residents in the north end is 21 percent, nearly double what it is citywide. Thirty-nine percent of the population is white, lower than the citywide 66 percent. Another 20 percent are listed as “other,” higher than the citywide 13 percent, according to the presentation, which used the 2016 census numbers.

The members also reviewed the input shared by residents at a recent public meeting, which all fell into six main categories: transportation and mobility; affordability and diversity; environment and outdoors; urbansim and quality of life; education; and arts, culture and sports. To read the city’s full report from the meeting, click here.

One idea listed by residents the task force supported and was excited by was a community center or multi-purpose sports complex. A complex could be something that could “tie the community together,” a group of task force members said.

One challenge, the task force learned, is that much of the area is undevelopable because of the river regulations and stream buffers that restrict land from being built on.

Gentrification is another challenge often discussed by the task force, which listed it as a threat to the project in a group exercise.

“If we are so successful that rents shoot through the roof, we haven’t met our goal,” said Gabriel Sterling, a former City Council member.

The task force’s next meeting is set for Aug. 22 at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall, 1 Galambos Way.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly listed the crime rates as percentages instead of as a rate per 1,000 people.

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