ATLANTA — Former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed delivered passionate criticism over the rise in violent crime in the city Wednesday morning on a popular radio show.
Reed spoke with host from the "Frank Ski Morning Show" on Kiss 104.1 about healthcare, the possibility of running for Mayor, and crime. But for much of the second half of the interview Reed did not beat around the bush when speaking on Atlanta's rise in violent crime.
"The level of crime and violence is at unacceptable levels and its fracturing our city in a way I haven’t seen in my lifetime," Reed said.
He mentioned that he doesn’t believe the city is doing enough and that the recent spike is not COVID driven.
"There are spikes in many cities around the country, but they are not at 60 percent," Reed explained. "I don’t want us to act like crime is something new, but when I left office, crime was at the lowest it had been for 40 years."
Although he did not directly blame anyone for the city’s current situation; he did offer some input on how to remedy the recent spike in violence.
"It’s not like we haven’t had spikes of violent crime and then cut it," Reed said. "You cut it by making a clear decision, being decisive, and working at it every single day. When I was mayor I had a pager on my hip to let me know every time a crime happened in Atlanta."
The number of reported violent crimes, like assaults, robberies and homicides are up compared to 2020, according to Atlanta Police's crime data. A total of 157 people were killed across the city in 2020, while Atlanta’s homicide numbers are on pace to surpass last year’s historic total. According to data, murders surged by about 60% through the first three months of 2021 and aggravated assaults are also up by 45 percent.
Just one month after a woman was shot at a Southeast Atlanta gas station, Reed saved his most passionate point for violent crime against the Black women living in the city of Atlanta.
“Black women should not be in the position that they are in, they are terrified," he said. "People need to stop acting like this isn’t happening. This is not a game."
He also touched on the topic of protesting, saying Atlanta is a unique place and its unity has been an example to the world.
“I would have never conceived about calling the national guard on my own people. When they were protesting in Atlanta, I did not sit behind my desk, I was in the thick of the protest."
For his part, the former mayor suggested on being physically present, appropriate 24/7 policing, putting and emphasis on community centers, speaking with club promoters and gas station owners, and fostering safe activities for the youth.
"We can reduce crime in the city and have it back to a sense of normalcy and have it back in 180 days, if you have the will."
Reed told Frank Ski that despite calls he hears, he does not plan on running for mayor again.