Midtown residents concerned with escalating crime in their neighborhoods got an apology Wednesday night from a surprise guest of their meeting -- Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.
Reed joined other city leaders at the meeting, which took place in the backyard of a home on Charles Allen Drive. Of all the accounts of recent crime discussed at the meeting, what happened to Aaron Coe's wife was the most chilling.
"As I'm looking out the window, she's on her knees with a gun to her head," Coe recounted. Three men were demanding his wife's keys. When Coe opened his front door to defend his wife, the armed men ran off.
"At 3:09 p.m. I called 911, and at 3:38 p.m. an officer arrived on scene."
In response, Mayor Reed took the blame.
"On behalf of the city of Atlanta, I apologize to you and your wife and children," said Reed.
Mayor Reed announced a $25,000 reward for information that leads to arrests in the case. He then pledged to do everything in his power to make residents feel safe.
"We're going to do a number of things," said Reed. "Number one, we're going to significantly increase the amount of overtime that our officers are working, and number two, we're going to expedite the use of technology and cameras to give our officers."
Earlier Wednesday, CBS46 reported that many residents in the area had discussed starting neighborhood night patrols to help combat the crime. A former police investigator questioned that idea, saying it could be dangerous. He also said the recent uptick in crime may be only temporary.
Other residents said they are in the process of organizing neighborhood watch groups. One Midtown resident created a GoFundMe page to raise money to put up signs, security cameras and to pay for neighborhood watch fees.
Residents have also started the hashtag #SaferMidtown to spread the word.
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