ATLANTA -- Mayor Kasim Reed went face-to-face Monday night with hundreds of east Atlanta residents who are fed up with a wave of violent crime, telling them in a town hall meeting all that he's already doing to fight it.
Residents applauded, welcoming the mayor's efforts.
They are worried. There have been three killings in east Atlanta in the past three months, in addition to robberies and burglaries.
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Mayor Reed said he's on the attack.
He's increased police overtime for those communities, he's putting in more video surveillance in the neighborhoods, he's ordered more police foot patrols, and he's installed new police leadership for that zone.
He also pointed out that he has beefed up the police force citywide to more than 1,900 officers, the biggest force in Atlanta's history, and managed to do it while shrinking the city budget.
And violent crime overall in Atlanta, he said, is down 18 percent since he took office in January, 2010.
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"But there is something going on in southeast Atlanta that needs be addressed," he said. "We have seen a level of violence that is unacceptable to me."
Mayor Reed said even after all that the city is doing to reduce crime in east Atlanta and the rest of the city, the single most effective action that would do more than anything else to reduce crime would be to get repeat offenders off of the streets. And that is beyond what any mayor and police force can do for a city; that's a matter for the courts.